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Spring is the perfect time to put some TLC into your yard’s trees. These Popuar Tree Caring Tips will help them enter the season healthy and ready to grow!
Overwatering causes root rot and other fungal issues. To prevent this, check the potting mix or soil to make sure it is dry before watering.
The pruning process can dramatically impact the health of a tree. In addition to removing dead and diseased limbs, it allows for new growth and improves airflow throughout the canopy. It can also reduce the risk of damage to structures such as homes and cars from fallen limbs. Proper pruning can also enhance the beauty of the tree and increase its value in your landscape.
Arboricultural science has made massive leaps forward in the understanding of trees. However, many companies still cling to old methods that have proven to be detrimental to the long-term health of trees. Pruning and trimming are often confused but there are major differences between the two that affect a tree’s health.
When pruned incorrectly, the resulting wounds can allow wood-eating fungi to enter the tree and cause rot. In addition, cuts that are made too close to the trunk can create a space for pests to gain entry into the home or other structures. This is why it is important to use a professional to perform any pruning.
For ornamental shrubs and flowering trees, pruning is best done during the winter before new growth starts. This will ensure the flowers or fruit are produced on wood that was matured that year. Examples of these types of plants include azaleas, rhododendron, mountain laurel, hollyhock, forsythia, lilac, and chokeberry.
For larger shade and fruit trees, pruning can be done to minimize the height or spread of the canopy to maximize light interception and to promote a balanced form. It can also be used to encourage fruit production in fruit trees by removing unproductive branches that limit the amount of light reaching the buds.
Some pruning is necessary to help with traffic and pedestrian flow. For example, if a tree grows wide limbs it can block traffic signs and hinder motorist visibility. Other pruning is necessary to prevent limbs from coming into contact with power lines or from falling during storms or heavy winds. These weakened limbs can be a serious safety hazard and need to be removed as soon as possible.
Providing enough water for your trees is crucial for their health and growth. Trees use water along with sunlight, carbon dioxide and nutrients to produce energy that they need to grow. Water also helps to maintain the soil’s texture and provides oxygen to the roots. Young trees especially require regular watering to thrive as they establish their root systems in the soil. If a tree is lacking in water it can become stressed, which can open the door for pests and disease.
When determining how much water to give a tree, it is best to feel the soil. Pull a small amount of dirt from the ground near the base of the tree and roll it between your fingers. If it feels moist and cool, it is not in need of more water. On the other hand, if it feels sandy or dry, that means it is time to water.
Many factors influence the amount of water that a tree needs, including its species, the climate and the site specific conditions. A tree in full sun may need more water than a shaded tree, and a dry period will increase its need for water as it expends more energy to keep its leaves from drying out and losing their color.
After a new tree is planted, it should be watered regularly for up to three growing seasons. This is because it will need to expend a lot of its resources just establishing roots in the ground. In the summertime, newly planted trees will need more water than usual as the weather gets hotter and drier.
A good time to water a tree is at night, from 10 p.m to 8 a.m. This is the best time to water because it allows for a more efficient use of the moisture and reduces the chance of water loss due to evaporation.
While a well-established tree should not need extra watering beyond the normal rainfall, it is a good idea to keep an eye on them during times of drought. A quick touch of the soil will help you to determine how wet it is, but if you notice the leaves are scorched or falling off, it’s time to add a little water to their diet.
Trees, like all plants, need certain nutrients to grow and thrive. They draw these nutrients from the soil through their root systems. Deficiencies of these nutrients can cause damage and even death to the plant. Over-fertilization can also harm plants by causing nutrient imbalances. To determine the proper amount of fertilizer to apply, a soil test should be conducted.
The optimum time to apply fertilizer is early spring before the start of new growth. This will help trees recover from the stress caused by summer heat, and it will encourage new growth that will carry them into fall and winter. Fertilizer should be avoided in late summer or autumn because it will stimulate excessive soft or succulent growth that may not harden up before the ground freezes.
Most of a shade tree’s roots reside close to the surface, with 95 percent of the root mass within 18 inches of the soil surface. Therefore, it is important that a fertilizer be spread over the entire area occupied by the root system, which extends out to and 2-3 times the width of the branch spread.
Several methods can be used to apply fertilizer to trees and shrubs. Spreading granular fertilizer evenly with a rotary or drop-type spreader is the preferred method because it will ensure that all of the root zone receives the proper amount of nutrients. This method also prevents fertilizer from being deposited on sidewalks and driveways, where it can wash into storm drains and lower water quality in bays and streams. The digging or drilling method of applying fertilizer is not a good idea, because it can put the nutrients below the level that the feeder roots can absorb them.
A hole method of fertilizer application may be used when the area occupied by the root system is confined by a sidewalk, driveway, or paved area. This involves placing a hole at least 6 feet away from the trunk of the plant and then filling it with a slow-release liquid or granular fertilizer. The holes should be spaced no more than two feet apart in a concentric circle around the plant and out to the drip line (outer edge of the tree canopy). The rate of hole filling will determine the amount of fertilizer applied.
Pests and diseases are a serious threat to tree health. A fungus or an insect infestation can quickly spread to other trees on your property if it’s not addressed quickly and efficiently. A professional can spot potential problems before they become severe and recommend the proper treatment to save your tree.
Insects that can damage poplars include aphids, leaf beetles, flea beetles, caterpillars, and mites. Some are generalists that attack multiple species, while others are specialists affecting only one or two. Pesticides are often needed to control these pests. A horticulturist or an ISA certified arborist can help you select the best pesticides and apply them properly to your landscaped trees.
A good spray schedule is vital to the success of your tree health program. The timing of sprays depends on the weather and growing conditions in your area, as well as when specific pests are most active. For example, in warmer climates, some pests may remain active year-round. Others, such as the emerald ash borer (EAB), are most active in spring and early fall. For these insects, a systemic insecticide is effective against EAB.
Proper cultural practices can also reduce your risk of disease and insect pests. Avoid interplanting young and mature conifers together, as this can lead to uneven age structure and make trees more vulnerable to diseases and insect pests. Avoid girdling the trunks of young or transplanted trees with twine, and regularly check to ensure that the girdling material has not become detached. Similarly, avoid topping or dehorning trees, as this leaves a wound that is more susceptible to infection by conifer borers.
Foresight when planting can greatly reduce or eliminate some pest problems. For instance, it is generally advisable to plant fruit trees on a separate block from ornamentals and other deciduous crops. This can minimize or eliminate the recurrence of certain diseases, such as cedar apple rust and plum curculio in pome fruits. Also, avoid planting stone fruits near pome or apple trees, since the presence of these plants can encourage cedar apple rust in pome fruits.
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