The View from Our Side of the Cockpit Door
The Gardening with Joey & Holly radio show Podcast/Garden talk radio show (heard across the country)
Segment 1 of S5E11 Tree Care- The Gardening with Joey and Holly Radio Show
Manage episode 292785459 series 1404544
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In segment 1 Joey and Holly talk about tree care what to and not to do.
Plant the right tree. This is the first, and one of the most important steps in making sure you get years of enjoyment from any tree. Choose a species that is well adapted to your climate and the specific conditions of soil, light and space at the planting site. For more information on the best trees for your region, visit your local nursery or local Cooperative Extension System office.
Remove stakes early. A tree that is allowed to sway in the wind develops a stronger trunk. If a new tree can’t stand on its own, use a two-stake system (one on either side of the root ball) with a loose, flexible tie in between to support the trunk. Remove the stakes as soon as the tree can stand alone, hopefully after one year.
Keep the grass away. Grass growing up against the trunk competes with the tree for air, water and nutrients (and usually wins the competition). Young trees, in particular, often develop poorly when grass is allowed to grow right up against their trunks. For best results, maintain a grass-free, mulched area around the trunk instead.
Water properly. Young trees need regular watering, but even mature trees need to be watered during periods of drought. Water deeply to saturate the entire root zone (2-3 feet deep for mature trees) to just outside the drip line (an imaginary line from the outside of the tree canopy down to soil level). Allow the soil to partially dry before watering again. Don’t count on lawn sprinklers to do the job for you. They rarely wet deep enough and can result in shallow rooted trees. Soil basins or drip irrigation are better options.
Fertilize when needed. Don’t assume trees need to be fed on an annual basis. Young trees may need occasional fertilizing until established, but mature trees often don’t need to be fed at all. Feed only if trees are growing poorly or have yellowing foliage. A soil test will confirm exactly which nutrients are needed.
Mulch. Apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch, such as pine straw or compost, under the canopy of the tree. Mulch cools the soil, conserves moisture, improves soil texture and reduces weeds. Replenish often. Here are some helpful tips for mulching.
Prune properly. Pruning enhances the structure and strength of your trees, making thinning cuts (removing entire limbs at their origin) as opposed to heading cuts (cutting along the length of a branch or hat-racking). For large trees, consult a certified arborist. Pruning correctly and pruning at the right time can make all the difference.
In general, pruning in spring can limit the tree's bloom potential for the year. ... But, you can safely do some tree pruning in spring–as long as you don't remove any more than 10 percent of the tree's branches. Your goal with spring pruning should be one of two things
Your goal with spring pruning should be one of two things.
Pruning for safety: Remove any dead, dying or decaying branches to keep your tree (and home) safe.
Minimal pruning for aesthetics: Cut or remove branches to shape your tree a bit.
Remember: pruning trees in spring can leave them more vulnerable to insect infestation and diseases.
That’s why you don’t want to prune these trees in spring, summer or early fall:
Oak trees to reduce the chance of oak wilt (if oak wilt is in your area)
Elm trees to reduce the chance of Dutch elm disease
Sycamore trees to reduce the chance of anthracnose
Honeylocust trees to reduce the chance of stem cankers
For most of my gardening life, trees and shrubs that needed a nutrient boost got their annual fertilizer application in early spring, right before active growth began for the year. This timing has been the generally accepted practice by gardeners and experts everywhere for years. And although early spring is a good time, new research indicates there is an even better time.
Contrary to traditional wisdom, many experts now consider late fall, or about a month after the first killing frost, to be the ideal time for applying fertilizers. We now know plants utilize nutrients throughout the year in different ways.
In the past, the most common reason against fertilizing in the fall was the fear that plants and trees would put on new growth if unseasonably warm weather returned, only to be burned or damaged by imminently colder temperatures.
The key is to understand the difference between early fall and late fall timing. If you fertilize in late summer or early fall, when temperatures are still warm and plants are still actively growing, it is likely new growth could occur and damage to tender new foliage could be the likely result.
The rationale for late fall fertilization makes sense when you understand why. At this time, deciduous trees and shrubs have lost their foliage for the year and active growth of plants and trees has slowed. Rather than put on new foliage growth, the roots of established trees or shrubs take the nutrients from the soil and apply them to important health-promoting functions, such as disease resistance and root development. The excess nutrients are stored in the roots and become immediately available when needed for new growth in spring.
Protect the roots. Cars and heavy equipment should never be allowed to drive over the root areas of trees. They compact soil, reducing available oxygen, and can kill roots. Nor should you remove or add soil beneath tree canopies without consulting a certified arborist. Changing grades can also harm roots and weaken trees, often killing them or making them more susceptible to storm damage.
Protect the trunk. Bumping into trees with lawn mowers or whipping the trunks with weed-eaters damages the bark and trunk, weakening the tree structurally while inviting insects and disease. Young trees are particularly susceptible but can be protected with plastic wraps available at nurseries and garden centers. Better yet, maintain a 2- to 3-foot wide grass-free, mulched ring around the tree.
Control pests. Insect pests like adult Japanese Beetles, Adelgids and Caterpillars can seriously damage or weaken trees.
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