We never get tired of remembering the many benefits of planting trees.
Trees improve our air quality and give off oxygen. They reduce the urban heat island effect, provide habitat and food for wildlife, and combat erosion and pollution in our waterways. They save us money by shading our homes. Trees reduce stress and have a calming effect on high-traffic streets. Children retain information better when they spend time around trees. Hospital patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when their room offered a view of trees. Trees simply make life better.
These are just a few of the reasons we should all be motivated to plant more trees!
While we are your faithful local Louisville arborist, specializing in finding the absolute best nursery stock and planting to the highest standards, we also want to provide encouragement and support if you’d like to go to it on your own.
But please keep in mind the high importance of this first step. At Abundant Tree Care, we get called out to look at a lot of trees in stress, and many times the reason for this stress is because the tree was planted incorrectly.
Keeping that in mind, if you still want to take on the planting yourself, read on for a few tips according to the form in which you purchased your tree. Of course, before moving forward with anything you’ll need to…
Dig a Hole
Prepare your hole no deeper than the height of the roots and about two to three times as wide the diameter. This is very important as a hole too deep won’t allow the roots access to sufficient oxygen; Too narrow of a hole will keep roots from expanding sufficiently, which is required for the tree to anchor and receive nourishment. Once it’s in there, turn it so the best side of the tree is facing the direction you want.
Container trees can be stored briefly after purchase as long as it’s in a shady spot and the soil is kept moist. When you plant, remove the container carefully then pull apart, or “butterfly”, the roots. This is very important to ensure the roots expand beyond the dimensions of the container. Once the tree is seated, backfill the original soil into the hole. Compress gently with your hands.
Burlapped Root Balls
Though it’s best to plant these as soon as possible, they can also be stored for a brief time after purchase in a moist and shaded environment. Lift the tree by the ball, not the trunk. When ready to plant, cut the twine or string, and remove the burlap (or at least push it to the very bottom). Surround the ball with soil up to the ball height or slightly lower to allow for some settling. Do not compress the soil.
These trees must be planted ASAP as there is no soil surrounding the roots. When purchasing, inspect the roots to ensure they are moist and have numerous lengths of fine root hairs. Keep them as moist as possible until you are able to plant. Prune broken or damaged roots but take care to save the root structure the best you can. To plant, build a cone of earth in the centre of the hole. Place and splay the roots out over the cone. The “crown”, where the roots and top meet, should be about two inches above the soil level. This will allow for natural settling.
Two main problems that we come across time and time again with suffering trees: Either the tree was not planted at the correct depth (hole too deep or too shallow) or the roots were not pruned at the time of planting and girdling roots formed. Over time these roots can strangle a tree and cause decline or tree mortality.
Of course, we’d be happy to come out and take care of the planting for you. We are also available for any questions you might have about the process, what happens after it’s in the ground and how to ensure optimal growth. Contact your Louisville arborist, Abundant Tree Care, to Request a Quote or with any questions or comments.
As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, February is a great time to prep your trees for optimal growth through fertilization. At this time, your plants and trees are beginning – or will soon begin – to enter their growth phase Providing them with important nutrients now will make sure they are used most effectively.
There are definitely some important guidelines to consider, though, before you head out there and start digging in.
When and How Often to Fertilize
- Freshly planted trees should be fertilized lightly if at all. In the first year after planting, these baby trees are still establishing their root system, and it’s best not to encourage excessive vegetative growth during this time.
- Throughout the first five to ten years after planting, your trees growth can be stimulated a bit more with annual fertilization. You’ll still want to keep it moderate, though, as excessive fertilization can result in a weaker branch structure.
- Mature trees generally do not need to be fertilized as frequently – probably no more often than once a year.
- If your tree has been damaged by pruning, squirrels, lightning or lawn care equipment, fertilization can also help speed along its recovery.
- Certain trees are naturally fast-growing and will need less fertilizer to achieve the desired rate. These include: tulip poplar, sycamore, swamp red maple, lacebark elm, and green ash.
If you missed it, backtrack to our first post of the month for more information on how you can tell if your tree needs a little boost in nutrients. If you find it does, give us a call. We can advise you on finding the right fertilizer to apply, or we are happily for hire to come over and do it for you.
As the cold rolls in – and then rolls out and then rolls in again – and we’ve been busy draping lights over the greenery inside our homes, many homeowners might assume they’ll have wait until the next season to plant new trees. But in fact, winter is a great time to plant as trees are dormant and, newly planted, they do not incur nearly as much damage to the root system as they might during the growing season.
Our team at Abundant Tree Care is ready to help you find the perfect trees for your landscape and assist you in planting for optimal growth this winter. With proper care- such as we’ve noted below- you’ll see swelling buds and a lush tree canopy right as Spring announces itself.
Tips: Caring for your baby trees in the winter.
- Don’t mess too much with the soil. You can add a little compost and bone meal, but wait until Spring to add fertilizer.
- Keep them hydrated: New trees and shrubs are in danger of drying out in the cold. Keep them watered every week or two, especially right before a heavy freeze.
- Hands off: The cold will provide enough of its own stresses so hold off on pruning and be very gentle with the roots. If you have to prune, only remove those limbs which are broken or damaged.
- No added salt please: When January and February brings the ice, avoid using rock salt-based ice melt near new trees. It interferes with the roots and keeps them from absorbing water, oxygen and nutrients.
- Add Mulch: Mulch will provide insulation for newly planted shrubs and trees. Take it a step further and wrap the plants with burlap on cold nights (but be sure to uncover in the morning).
Homeowners can easily become injured – many times fatally – while attempting to trim trees near overhead electrical wires. Though it is tempting to try to save money with this “do-it-yourself” approach, the potential for electrocution is not worth the risk.
Terrible accidents can happen when a homeowner uses pole-mounted cutting tools and/or metal ladders when attempting to trim backyard trees and shrubs. Too often, an energized overhead wire is not noticed and is touched by pruning tools, causing injury or death.
These are not freak accidents; they are preventable.
Tree limbs can conduct electricity. When trees grow near overhead electrical wires, they can contact the wires and become energized.
There are several things that can go wrong for do-it-yourselfers trying to trim tree branches. For example, if proper tree cutting techniques are not understood, the cut branch can swing in unpredictable directions as it falls and could easily land on an energized wire.
Don’t be fooled by the voltage of the lines. You may think that working on the trees or shrubs near your home’s service line is safer than working near the high voltage secondary distribution lines on the pole by the street, but that’s simply not true.
There are three-wire (called “triplex”) lines connecting the power lines on the pole to your house (meter). Service wires leading from the pole to the house can pack a punch. The type of shock you might have received (and survived) when changing a household light switch is not the same type of shock you will receive if you contact a low-voltage utility wire.
A common house circuit carries 120 volts but the electric flow is usually limited to 10, 15 or 20 amps. A common “house drop” (service wire) contains 240 volts and up to 60 amps or more. Given the right set of circumstances, even the shock a person gets from a common light switch can kill, but at the same time, it is easier to break electrical contact while standing inside a house. If a person is climbing a ladder or is in the tree, it may be more difficult to break contact with the energized wire. This means that the service line over a typical yard could easily kill a person.
Here are a few tips to avoid trees in wires:
• Look for power lines before pruning trees and large shrubs. If lines are anywhere near the tree, don’t attempt any tree work. Professional tree climbers have the training and equipment needed to perform these tasks safely.
• Never climb a tree in order to prune it. Even if the wires aren’t currently touching the tree, remember that the tree’s branches will shift once you begin climbing or removing limbs.
• Wearing rubber-soled shoes or rubber gloves while tree pruning will not prevent a fatal shock.
• Never extend long-handled saws or pruners into a tree without checking for power lines. Electricity is always trying to go somewhere, and it will easily travel through metal, water, trees, and/or the ground.
• Don’t move ladders or long-handled pruning tools around the yard without first looking up. Always read and heed ladder-use safety labels.
More importantly, call Abundant Tree Care Services. They have the knowledge, experience, and specialized equipment to care for your trees safely. For the safety of their employees and the public, Abundant Tree Care follows the ten-foot rule. If access is needed within ten feet of a power line, Abundant Tree Care will work with the electric company to make the line safe while the work is done.
Ask to see Abundant Tree Care Services certificate of insurance, and don’t forget to check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers the cost of tree services.
Call Us Anytime with Tree or Shrub Questions 502-297-1578
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With every season, no doubt, many of you step outside to take a look at your landscape and trees. Life can get busy, and we know pruning trees isn’t always at the top of the to-do list. Whether you want to make your trees safe and healthy from deadwood, or if you want to enhance the aesthetics of your landscape, your trees will need some pruning. If you’re thinking it’s time, make sure you know when the best time to prune your tree is! There are multiple reasons as to why you should prune your trees in the Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall.
Keep in mind that some species of trees vary in their care. Also, getting rid of dead branches or light pruning can occur during any time without harm to the tree.
Pruning Trees in Winter
Winter is a great time for pruning trees; this is when a tree is considered to be “dormant.” There is no new growth happening. The benefit of pruning in the winter is that it encourages the tree to grow more vigorously in the spring. The best time is to wait till after the coldest part of winter is over. If you see sap leaking out from your maples, walnuts, or birches, this is called “bleeding.” It will cease when the tree leafs out in the spring and will do no harm to the tree.
Pruning Trees in Spring
If you want your flowering trees to be enhanced for next year, try pruning them in the Spring. For trees that bloom in the spring, you should prune them after that season’s flowers have faded. For later-blooming trees, do it in the winter or early spring.
Pruning Trees in Summer
Spring and Summer is when trees are in their growing season. Often in the summer, you realize which branches need to be cut because of how they stick out or are weighed down by leaves. You can prune these branches to slow the growth, or direct it, in the way you would prefer. The Arbor Day Foundation explains the reason for this slow down in growth: “…you reduce the total leaf surface, thereby reducing the amount of food manufactured and sent to the roots.” One issue to watch our for when pruning your trees in the summer is sun scald. Sun scald occurs when previously shaded bark tissue is exposed, and is just like sun burn on humans.
Pruning Trees in the Fall
Fall pruning is the least ideal of all seasons to prune trees. This is the time in the life of the tree when energy is being redirected to the roots and trunk to store for next years spring bud brake – so there is not extra energy for healing wounds. Additionally, during the fall there is an increase of fungal spores relative to spring, summer, and winter. Pruning in late fall after temperatures have decreased and trees have become dormant is just fine. And, again, deadwood removal is fine any time of year.
There are several methods to pruning trees.
It’s important to know the correct solution to ensure long life and health for your tree. Here we describe the services we offer to help you determine what might be best for your trees! We’re also happy to talk with you, inspect your trees and give you an estimate for our expert pruning services.
Raising means to “raise the crown” which basically means clearing some of the lower branches.To avoid leaving wounds or marks, regular raising of the canopy should occur on younger trees. The reason for raising is to accommodate more urban environments. It is generally implemented when tree limbs get in the way of structures or people. The preferable clearance for structures is 10′-15′.
Reduction is a practice that focuses on the skillful and discriminate reduction of stems that may need to be cut back for several reasons. One of the practices we do NOT do is topping trees. When you top trees, you remove crucial branches or trunks that cause large wounds in the trees, leaving them open to decay. We want to respect the natural branching of a tree; to keep the beauty of a tree one should avoid topping.
Reduction requires in depth knowledge about how a tree grows back and which branches are necessary. We can preserve your tree’s natural form but perform the necessary cuts to keep your tree healthy and manageable.
Canopy Thinning –
This is often performed on trees that are overgrown. Often, thinning is necessary for tree structural reasons. Also, increased light penetration (to help your grass or other plants grow) is often a reason for such pruning. The best practice is to not remove more than 15%-20% of the foliage on the tree and one should only be cutting branches that are 2 inches thick.
Structural Pruning for Younger Trees –
This pruning practice is probably the most overlooked by clients and so-called tree care professionals. Because most site conditions in an urban environment allow for more light to your tree than if if was in the forest, your tree grows much differently than its natural setting. Proper structural growth for your tree from tree establishment is crucial for the health of your tree later in life, particularly in the context of storm damage prevention.
There are several steps to proper structural pruning including:
- selecting the branch that will be the dominant trunk
- identify branches that will be competing with the dominant trunk
- removing or shortening the branches
Dead Wooding/Canopy cleaning –
This straightforward pruning practice removes all dangerous and aesthetically unpleasing dead wood from you tree.
Abundant Tree Care has the professionals and equipment needed to take care of those hard pruning jobs. We know trees! Call for an estimate.
Call Us Anytime with Tree or Shrub Questions 502-297-1578
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Kentucky Arborist Tree Care Service