Thursday, October 24, 2013

Learn How to Keep Your Young Trees Healthy Through the Winter

Welcome to the last post of this series on tree care tips to ensure your young trees get a healthy start to a long life. Although these tips are for anyone to follow, I encourage you to call upon your local tree service for assistance with your overall or general tree care. Many tree services are best left to professionals. While it is great to be a do-it-yourselfer, you don't want to jeopardize the health of your tree or waste the dollars already invested in the tree by making rookie mistakes. Today's topic is on clearing. If you're just stumbling upon this post and have missed the previous ones, my information posts on young tree care found here, here and here!

When we speak of clearing many of us will think of removing a large amount of trees from a specific area. That is not what I am referring to here. Clearing, when it comes to the tree care of young trees, is simply being mindful to pull up any grass and weeds for a radius of at least 2 feet around the tree - or clear the area so that the tree and roots can get the sunlight, water and nutrients they need. Use your spade shovel to cut straight down into the grass. The flat shovel was good for cutting under the roots of the grass to keep the sod in big pieces. Take care to avoid damage to the tree’s roots. Major tree roots often grow within a few inches of the soil surface. Some species, such as maples, grow roots particularly close to the surface.  Mulch the area under the tree with compost and/or wood chips. These materials are porous enough to allow sufficient oxygen supply to the soil and may actually encourage fine root growth. Acting as an insulator, the mulch will minimize frost-heaving and erosion.

Mulching also keeps down weeds, thus eliminating competition for water. In addition, much water that otherwise would be evaporated by the sun can soak down through a 2" layer of mulch to the soil around tree roots. Mulching trees also helps keep their roots cooler in hot weather.


Early in the year, when the soil is moist, cover the cleared area with a mulch mat, bark or brushwood chippings, or old piece of carpet. This helps retain moisture near the roots, reduces competition from weeds, and means there is no need to use grass-cutting machinery near the tree where it might damage the bark.



As always, if you have questions about your tree's care, contact your local tree service. As a Chicago tree service, they are well versed in all this and will give you the assistance you need. Those of you that are local to the Chicago area, Trees "R" Us, Inc. will help you with the care of your trees. In addition, their plant health care division has several Chicago certified arborists that are highly trained in caring for plants and trees. 
Stay tuned for my final post on the care of young tress that will cover clearing. If you want to read the previous posts on young tree care, click here
Thanks for following us!
Nick
Nick@treesrusinc.com

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Check Your Tree's Stake. It May Be Time to Remove It.

Welcome to part 3 of this series on tree care tips to ensure your young trees get a healthy start to a long life. Although these tips are for anyone to follow, I encourage you to call upon your local tree service for assistance with your overall or general tree care. Many tree services are best left to professionals. While it is great to be a do-it-yourselfer, you don't want to jeopardize the health of your tree or waste the dollars already invested in the tree by making rookie mistakes. Today's topic is on loosening. 
Loosening refers to the staking of the tree. Check the stake. Is it too tight? Is it causing too much pressure from the tie. Keep in mind also that the tree stem should not rub against the stake or guard.
Perhaps the tree doesn't even still need to be staked. A young tree should only need one stake until the roots have grown well into the soil so that it gains stability. This process usually takes about a year. One way to tell it is time to remove the stake is to release the stake and see if the tree stays upright. If it does, it is time to remove the stake. If it doesn't keep the stake as is, but loosen it a bit so that it is not rubbing against the tree stem. When removing the stake, pay close attention to if the tree leans to one side or the other, or if the roots move, or if the top is heavy or bending. All these factors signify that the tree still needs to be staked. Also make sure that when you restake the tree, ensure that the tree stem stands upright. 
As always, if you have questions about your tree's care, contact your local tree service. As a Chicago tree service, they are well versed in all this and will give you the assistance you need. Those of you that are local to the Chicago area, Trees "R" Us, Inc. will help you with the care of your trees. In addition, their plant health care division has several Chicago certified arborists that are highly trained in caring for plants and trees. 
Stay tuned for my final post on the care of young tress that will cover clearing. If you want to read the previous posts on young tree care, click here
Thanks for following us!
Nick
Nick@treesrusinc.com

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Bit About Tree Guards and Tree Pruning

Welcome to part 2 of this series on tree care tips to ensure your young trees get a healthy start to a long life. Although these tips are for anyone to follow, I encourage you to call upon your local tree service for assistance with your overall or general tree care. Many tree services are best left to professionals. While it is great to be a do-it-yourselfer, you don't want to jeopardize the health of your tree or waste the dollars already invested in the tree by making rookie mistakes. 

Here's a little tip about how tree guards and pruning will help your trees stay healthy. 

Tree guards are intended to stop animals – such as mice, rabbits, deer or horses – from damaging young trees by eating the shoots and leaves or stripping the bark. Check the guards in spring and autumn to ensure they are effective (no bark missing or twigs bitten or broken off) and not rubbing or cutting into the tree.

If a guard is inadequate or the risk has changed, consider different protection, e.g. a taller tube to protect against deer, or fencing to keep off cows and other farm animals. 

Make sure to repair or replace damaged guards. If a guard is damaging the tree, adjust, modify or replace it. Remove the guard when there is no longer a risk of damage and clear away any material that has built up inside.

Pruning
Careful pruning can prevent problems in later life. If a tree has two competing upright shoots, remove one at an early stage to leave a single main shoot. This can save the tree from possible future branch failure. With pruning it is important to know WHEN to prune, WHAT to prune and HOW to prune. Pruning the wrong tree in the wrong season the wrong way can lead to major problems with the tree and even death. Make sure you do your research on the type of tree you are pruning so you know how to go about pruning. Of course, your local tree service will know the best plan of action for your trees, so I encourage you to contact them. Chicago readers can call Trees "R" Us, Inc., a Chicago tree service to the Chicagoland area and the Chicago suburbs.

Stay tuned to part 3 of this 5 part post on tree care for young trees. Part 3 will cover loosening, an ofter overlooked aspect of tree care.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
Nick@treesrusinc.com