planting trees, there are a few short and long term
things you can do to care for and protect your investment.
Term Watering Needs - Immediately
trees make sure to give them a good, deep
soaking. Continue to check soil moisture closely (using
the finger test) for a month or so after planting and
water as needed to keep soil around root ball moist,
but not wet. Watering trees that are trying to establish
themselves too much can cause damaging root rot, so
be careful not to overwater. Trees that prefer moisture-retentive
soils, such as Riverbirch and Weeping Willow may require
more frequent watering to become established and therefore
should be watched more closely.
Trees planted while dormant (during the winter months)
will not require nearly as much attention to watering.
The evaporation process slows down tremendously during
the cold season and trees are not actively growing so
will not soak up nearly as much water.
Some trees, particularly Riverbirch,
have a habit of partially and sometime even fully defoliating
(dropping leaves) after planting. This is usually caused
from "transplant shock" or too little water.
If the right steps are taken, 99 time out of a hundred,
the tree will leaf back out and continue to grow as
normal. In the event that a tree defoliates soon after
planting, first check to see if the tree is alive. Do
so by rubbing a very small section of the bark off of
a branch using a coin or knife. If the underbark is
green, your tree is still alive. Now, check the soil
for moisture. If the soil is wet do not water the tree
again until new leaves have begun to emerge. As soon
as the new leaves begin to emerge you can resume normal
watering as described above.
Term Watering Needs - It usually takes a few
months of warm weather with adequate rainfall or watering,
and proper planting technique and fertilization, for
a tree to establish itself by "rooting in".
Once "rooted in", a tree will not require
near the attention to watering. Only water established
trees during extended hot and dry periods, or when you
observe wilting of new growth (new foliage). The best
method for watering an established tree during a drought
is by use of a soaker hose or drip irrigation. Lay the
soaker hose on the ground in a circle underneath the
perimeter of the tree's canopy (branch spread) - this
is where the feeder roots will be - and soak for several
hours. Do this once or twice a week until rainfall occurs.
Mulching can reduce environmental stress
by providing trees with a stable root environment that
is cooler and contains more moisture than the surrounding
soil. Mulch can also prevent mechanical damage by keeping
machines such as lawn mowers and string trimmers away
from the tree’s base.
To be most effective in all of these
functions, wood mulch or pinestraw should be spread
2 to 3 inches deep and cover the entire root system,
which usually extends just beyond branch spread of the
tree. If the area and activities happening around the
tree do not permit the entire area to be mulched, it
is recommended that you mulch as much of the area under
the drip line of the tree as possible.
placing mulch, care should be taken not to cover the
actual trunk of the tree. This mulch-free area, 1 to
2 inches wide at the base, is sufficient to avoid moist
bark conditions and prevent trunk decay. Plastic should
not be used over the root systems of trees or shrubs
because it interferes with the exchange of gases and
water between soil and air, which inhibits root growth.
Thicker mulch layers, 5 to 6 inches deep or greater,
may also inhibit these exchanges.
Fertilization is another important aspect
of tree care. Trees require certain nutrients (essential
elements) to function and grow. Urban landscape trees
can be growing in soils that do not contain sufficient
available nutrients for satisfactory growth and development.
In these situations, it may be necessary to fertilize
to improve plant vigor.
a tree can improve growth; however, if fertilizer is
not applied wisely, it may not benefit the tree at all
and may even adversely affect the tree.
Mature trees making satisfactory growth may
not require fertilization. When considering supplemental
fertilizer, it is important to know which nutrients
are needed and when and how they should be applied.
Soil conditions, especially pH and organic
matter content, vary greatly, sometimes making the proper
selection and use of fertilizer is a somewhat complex
process. When dealing with a mature
tree that provides considerable benefit and value to
your landscape, it is worth the time and investment
to have the soil tested for nutrient content. Any arborist
can arrange to have your soil tested at a soil testing
laboratory and can give advice on application rates,
timing, and the best blend of fertilizer for each of
Mature trees have expansive root systems
that extend from 2 to 3 times the size of the leaf canopy.
A major portion of actively growing roots is located
outside the tree’s drip line. It is important
to understand this fact when applying fertilizer to
your trees as well as your turf.
Many lawn fertilizers contain weed
and feed formulations that may be harmful to your trees.
When you apply a broadleaf herbicide to your turf, remember
that tree roots coexist with turf roots. The same herbicide
that kills broadleaf weeds in your lawn is picked up
by tree roots and can harm or kill your broadleaf trees
if applied incorrectly.
the actual size and extent of a tree’s root system
before you fertilize is necessary to determine how much,
what type, and where to best apply fertilizer.
a tree we always use Agriform Fertilizer Tablets.
Agriform Tablets will slowly release over a period of
18 to 24 months. We use 1 tablet per 1/2" caliper
of the tree. The caliper of a tree is the diameter of
the trunk at 12" above ground level. After planting
a tree, we push the tablets about 3 inches down in the
soil half-way between the perimeter of the root ball
and the perimeter of the hole that was dug to plant
is the most common tree maintenance procedure next to
watering. Pruning trees is often desirable or necessary
to remove dead, diseased, or insect-infested branches
and to improve tree structure, enhance vigor, or maintain
safety. Major pruning of trees should be performed during
winter when the tree is totally dormant. Because each
cut has the potential to change the growth of (or cause
damage to) a tree, no major branch should be removed
without a reason.
The tree that is pruned incorrectly
most often is the Crape Myrtle. Most people unknowingly
cut them back way too far. That's why we included a
page on this site that shows how to properly prune
a crape myrtle.
careful how many limbs you remove from any tree. Removing
limbs is removing foliage. Removing too much foliage
from a tree has two distinct effects on its growth.
Removing leaves reduces photosynthesis and may reduce
overall growth. That is why pruning should always be
performed sparingly. Overpruning is extremely harmful
because without enough leaves, a tree cannot gather
and process enough sunlight to survive. Understanding
how the tree responds to pruning should assist you when
selecting branches for removal.
Pruning mature trees may require special
equipment, training, and expertise. If the pruning work
requires climbing, the use of a chain or hand saw, or
the removal of large limbs, then using personal safety
equipment, such as protective eyewear and hearing protection,
is a must.
can provide a variety of services to assist in performing
the job safely and reducing risk of personal injury
and damage to your property. They also are able to determine
which type of pruning is necessary to maintain or improve
the health, appearance, and safety of your trees.
Tree inspection is an evaluation tool
to call attention to any change in the tree’s
health before the problem becomes too serious. By providing
regular inspections of mature trees at least once a
year, you can prevent or reduce the severity of future
disease, insect, and environmental problems. During
tree inspection, be sure to examine four characteristics
of tree vigor: new leaves or buds, leaf size, twig growth,
and absence of crown dieback (gradual death of the upper
part of the tree).
A reduction in the extension of shoots
(new growing parts), such as buds or new leaves, is
a fairly reliable cue that the tree’s health has
recently changed. To evaluate this factor, compare the
growth of the shoots over the past three years. Determine
whether there is a reduction in the tree’s typical
Further signs of poor tree health are
trunk decay, crown dieback, or both. These symptoms
often indicate problems that began several years before.
Loose bark or deformed growths, such as trunk conks
(mushrooms), are common signs of stem decay.
Any abnormalities found during these
inspections, including insect activity and spotted,
deformed, discolored, or dead leaves and twigs, should
be noted and watched closely.
you have many large, mature trees on your property you
might want to consider having a certified arborist do
a yearly check on them. .
- Disease organisms can affect trees. The trees that
we often recommend and that are listed on this site
have been noted for their resistance to diseases. For
instance, the 'Fauriei Hybrid' Crape Myrtles (having
indian names such as 'Tonto' and 'Natchez') are far
more resistant to powdery mildew than are other older
- Except for the Asian Ambrosia beetle, which
has claimed the lives of a few young Yoshino and Kwansan
cherry trees, most insect problems we've identified
in our area have not been life threatening to trees.
Probably the most common insects are aphids and the
Japanese beetles. Neither do irreparable damage to healthy
If you have any questions regarding trees, need more
information or would like to place an order please feel
free to call us at 678-677-5931
- Sales manager