Trees

Living Christmas Trees in Pots

Living trees and other plants can be decorated with Christmas ornaments and later be planted outside. This can become a family tradition where parents and children point to trees growing in the landscape and say, “that was our Christmas tree in 20XX.” This is especially effective if the whole family is involved in the process [...]

Protect Trees from Stunting and Death by Trimmer

The line trimmer has become almost as common as the lawn mower for landscapers and gardeners. It gives lawns that finished touch with all the edges neatly trimmed. Young trees with thin bark are particularly sensitive to damage from line trimmers. Trimmers make little nicks and cuts in the bark which can gradually cut all [...]

How to Prune (and not prune) Large Trees

Large trees growing near homes and other structures can be dangerous during windy weather, especially if they have wounds, rot or weak branch connections. However, far too many healthy large trees are damaged by incorrect pruning. Simply reducing the height of a large tree does not necessarily make it safer. In fact, improper pruning can [...]

Planting and Staking Trees

Holes for trees should be dug to the depth of the existing container or soil ball. Holes should be 1 ½ to 2 times the diameter of the container or soil ball. Trees in containers sometimes have several layers of roots on the sides and bottom of the soil ball. Loosen roots or slice through [...]

Mulches Reduce Weeds and Improve Plant Growth

One of the best ways to reduce weeding is to apply mulch around trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The most popular mulch material is bark. Bark is available in three different size chunks and finer sizes called bark dust. Bark can be purchased in bags but is much cheaper in bulk. If you do [...]

How Big Will My Tree Grow?

I am continually amazed when trees which normally grow 50 feet or taller are planted under power lines or other places where there is not room for them to grow to full height. Whenever a new tree or shrub is planted the label or some other source such as google should be consulted to find out [...]

“My Tree Is Too Big”

I always dread the “my tree is getting too big” question. Why do you think your tree is getting too big? One of the advantages of trees is they get big and give us shade in the summer. If a big tree is planted too close to a building there may be some concern about [...]

Pruning Shade Trees

The ideal form for most large shade trees is a single central leader or trunk with scaffold branches spaced at intervals vertically and radially around the trunk. Once the tree has reached sufficient size, all branches below a height of 6 or 7 feet are removed to allow easy walking under the branches. Some small [...]

Choosing Fertilizers

The best time to fertilize most permanent plants is March and April. Lawns also need a late summer or fall application.  I also fertilize anytime I plant new plants. Although there are many specialized fertilizers available, I use two types for almost all my outdoor plants. I use lawn fertilizer for my lawn, trees, and shrubs, and [...]

Why is Tree Topping Bad?

According to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), “topping is the indiscriminate cutting back of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role.” Other names for topping include ‘heading,’ ‘tipping,’ ‘hat-racking,’ and ’rounding over’.” Topping violates nationally accepted standards for proper pruning and seriously injures trees.”

  Topping [...]

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