Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A checklist for taking care of your trees this July

July snuck in on us with cool temperatures and mild weather. We've been struck by lots of storms, flooding and cool, windy days...a far cry from what we are used to in Chicago for July. So what's in store for our plants this season? 
Here's my July plant health care checklist which will provide you with detailed information on how to take care of your trees and plants in July with these wet mild conditions.

Mulch You must get a fresh layer of mulch down on your plants. 2 to 4-inch layer of organic mulch over garden beds will suffice. This will conserve moisture, cool plant roots, and discourage weeds. Don't pile it against stems and trunks to prevent rot.  If you need good quality, organic mulch, contact Organic Solutions, Inc.  The best mulch at the most competitive prices can be found here.  Or call 847-366-8869.
Support fruit tree branches  Applepeachpear, and plum trees may be laden with fruit this month. To prevent limb breakage, use wooden supports to brace sagging branches. Also, regularly clean up and discard fallen fruit, since it might harbor diseases and pests.
Remove suckers from apple and pear trees  Because summer pruning doesn’t encourage as much regrowth as winter pruning, you can take off suckers (vertical sprouts that shoot up from horizontal limbs) now. Rub little ones out with your thumb, and nip bigger ones out with a knife, pruning shears, or saw.  Or, prune out all ground-level sucker growth from crabapple, apple, plum, peach or apricot trees by cutting out growth below soil level.
Prevent wormy apples Codling moth larvae (apple worms) and apple maggots destroy apples by tunneling through them. You can treat them organically by applying spinosad, which is made from a soil bacterium,Saccharopolyspora spinosa. It's sold as Success, Entrust, and Monterey Garden Insect Spray, and is widely available at nurseries.
Shake down plum trees  Plum trees can often overproduce. Pick off or shake out a percentage of fruit before it swells.
Water When temperatures rise and drought conditions occur, adjust your automatic irrigation systems to water more often and as your water district allows. Check container plants daily. Make sure mature fruiting and ornamental trees are deeply irrigated. If the amount of rain we've had in Chicagoland continues, watering even every other week won't be necessary. Use your best judgement. If we haven't had rain in a while deeply water your trees and plants, if it has rained regularly, then you need not water. 
Protect oaks Make sure the ground under the canopy of mature native California oaks gets good irrigation, because summer watering can kill these trees. The danger of root rot is greatest when you water close to the trunk. If you can’t keep the entire area under the tree dry, be sure no water gets within 10 feet of the trunk.
Prune wisteria Summer pruning of new growth keeps wisteria under control and increases flowering next spring. To extend the height or length of the vine, select some of the new streamerlike stems and tie them to a support in the direction you wish to train the plant. Then cut back the rest to within 6 inches of the main branches.
Prune flowering limbs  Once they have flowered, prune out the flowering limbs of shrubs such as philadelphus and deutzia to encourage graceful new wood for next year. High summer is the best time to prune stone fruit to avoid Silverleaf. This is an airborne bacteria that infects the trees through open cuts. Replace tired limbs on fan-trained cherries and peach once fruit is harvested, and give young plums some formative pruning to create well balanced trees, by removing crossing branches and encouraging an open framework of limbs.

Prune water sprouts  Prune out weak, green but very fast-growing water sprouts that grow vertically from branches of fruit trees, redbuds, or other ornamental flowering trees.

Remove old canes  If not done yet, renovate overgrown shrubs including dogwood, lilac, and forsythia by removing one-third of the oldest canes.

Avoid over pruning  If necessary, boxwood and yews can be lightly pruned to maintain geometric form. Avoid over pruning, especially in very sunny, hot weather.


Battle slugs The heat may chase them into hiding, but they’re there. A little bait in the cool spots will go a long way right now (as will night raids after lawn watering or summer showers; just handpick and throw them away). Put bait under stones, along the edges of walks, and near foundations. To protect pets and wild birds, place the bait in petproof slug traps or under boards held up by bricks.
Fertilize roses  For the third and final time at the end of the month with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer, fertilize all rose bushes. Do not fertilize after August 1.

Deadhead  Continue to deadhead roses by cutting flowers back to the first set of five leaflets.

Monitor rose bushes for fungus  Monitor roses closely for blackspot. Remove any leaves that show darkened circles with fuzzy margins on either the topside or underside of leaves; yellow foliage with dark spots; and any leaves that have already dropped from the plant. Begin a spray program with approved fungicides immediately. Always choose disease-resistant roses in the future.



Trees "R " Us, Inc. is proud to educate our communities on proper tree care and maintenance.

It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick

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