During the spring and summer, we eagerly devote a lot of attention to our lawns and gardens, but often our trees are overlooked. The types of trees we have gracing our property will influence the time it takes to trim and prune them. When we built our home we decided to landscape our yard with trees that would fit our property lot size, but color and shape were also considered. If I’m being honest, we never factored in yearly care. We’ve since learned how to care for our trees properly from the experts at our local greenhouse. So dust off your gardening tools; I’d like to share a few tree caring tips with you.
Prune At The Right Time
The best time to prune is during the tree’s dormancy time, which is in winter. Pruning after the season’s coldest temperatures have passed in late winter, can lead to impressive and healthy growth in the spring. I have one Amur Maple tree, and it bleeds sap during pruning, but this is normal and will cease when it starts to bloom.
Mature trees need to be pruned regularly to remove dead or diseased branches or to remove excess weight from the ends of branches. It’s important to note that inadequate pruning compromises the health of your trees. It’s imperative that you avoid ‘topping’ your tree; this harmful practice ruins the tree’s natural structure. It also starves the tree by removing food-producing leaves, creates a portal for disease, and initiates the tree’s eventual demise. If you’re a novice gardener, and not sure when to prune your specific tree, contact a landscaping professional or the Arbor Day Foundation for advice.
Use Appropriate Tools
When trimming or removing branches, use sharp tools to minimize damage to the bark. Young trees are best pruned with one-hand pruning shears with curved blades. For taller trees with out of reach branches, use a pole pruner or you may have to hire a professional tree groomer.
Like our delightful gardens and flower beds, our trees need water to thrive. Insufficient watering can make it hard for trees to flourish in summer, but overwatering can be harmful as well. It’s suggested that we water each tree in our yard with a sprayer hose for 30 seconds and it should be sufficient. Other’s suggest that matures trees need a regular monthly deep soak in the absence of rain. Newly planted trees may require more moisture to establish their root system. You might want to consider laying mulch to retain moisture and allow the tree to develop a strong root system.
Remove Built Up Soil
Roots require oxygen and by ensuring the root crown is dry and exposed to air, you’ll prolong the life of your tree. Root crown fungus growth will slow down when the fungus is exposed to air. Be careful you don’t place fill soil over the roots, the oxygen content of the soil where the roots are located is reduced. This oxygen depletion often causes the small feeder roots to die.
It’s also important to remove competing plants like ivy and grass. These plants hide areas of decay and trap moisture around the root crown causing the perfect environment for fungus to thrive. Garbage collects under ivy’s and offers shelter for unwelcomed critters. Summing it up, all plants within the drip line should be removed.
If your tree shows signs of fungus, disease, decay, or clusters of mushrooms growing from or next to the trunk, consult with a professional. They can evaluate the depth of root crown infection.
Our trees adorn and beautify our lawns with their majestic stature, so they deserve consideration. Their swaying branches and rustling leaves fill our spirit with peaceful sounds. They provide shade on hot days, homes for birds, squirrels, and other animals, and lots of clean oxygen to the world. So there are plenty of reasons to love and care for our stunning trees.