Dig It! Tree Care - May 2011
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
May 9, 2011
Dear Flora: When is the best time to fertilize trees and shrubs?
Signed: Wendy Willow
Dear WW: Spring is the best time. You don't fertilize in summer because new growth needs to "harden off" in preparation for winter.
Dear Flora: How often should I water trees and shrubs?
Signed: Sage Sally
Dear SS: Established trees and shrubs will tolerate summer heat with a deep watering about every 7-10 days.
Dear Flora: Do I need to protect newly planted seedling trees and shrubs?
Signed: Lilac Lil
Dear LL: Newly planted seedlings will need shade from the hot sun and protection from wind. Larger trees and shrubs that are planted will need staking in windy locations. All trees and shrubs need protection from browsing animals with the use of cages or fencing and consistent watering while establishing a root system. Prune out any "suckers" that shoot up at the base of trees. Unless planting in windy areas, when properly planted with the tree set on un-dug soil, most trees do not require staking or underground stabilization. Install staking before watering to avoid packing down wet soil
Dear Flora: Should I apply mulch around trees?
Signed: Mulch Mary
Dear MM: Yes, in our dry climate keep about 2 inches of mulch around trees to conserve moisture, keep roots cool and reduce weeds so you won't have to mow under the tree. Mulch that is too thick in winter will invite rodents. Keep mulch away from the base of the tree. Pine needles may be applied up to 4 inches deep.
Dear Flora: My evergreen trees are brown inside. What gives?
Signed: Brown Betty
Dear BB: This is normal. Elderly evergreen develop inner dead zones, so donít spend time pruning too aggressively because the dead zone will never green up.
Dear Flora: How deep should I plant a tree?
Signed: Frannie Foot
Dear FF: The planting hole for your tree should be 1-2 inches less than the height of the root ball. The top of the root ball should be about one inch above ground level for trees up to 1 inch in diameter and about 2 inches for larger trees. At least two structural roots should be within the top 1-3 inches of the root ball, measured 3-4 inches from the trunk. Also, if you are unsure where underground telephone or power lines might be, call One Call of Wyoming at 811 or 800-849-2476 before you dig.
Dear Flora: I have heard that you can give trees "shots". What do those "shots" do?
Signed: Needle Drop
Dear ND: There are, in fact, tree injections that are inserted directly into the xylem of trees to remediate tree issues. Pesticides, fertilizers, and disease treatments can be injected directly into a tree. Visit www.arborjet.com or call 781.935.9070 to learn more.
Dear Flora: I want to plant the proper tree for Sublette County. What trees should I plant and what trees should stay away from?
Signed: Needs A. Tree
Dear NAT: The only trees that you are prohibited from planting are on the Wyoming Designated Noxious Weed list and are salt cedar and Russian olive. Be sure to plant trees that are suitable for our climate, zone 2 or maybe zone 3. For lists of shrubs and trees for our area, visit the Pinedale offices of the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, Sublette County Conservation District or Wyoming State Forestry Office. You could also contact the Sage and Snow Garden Club for a copy of Garden Flora of the Pinedale Area.
Dear Flora: I want to plant an evergreen tree close to my house for shade in the summer time. Is that a good idea?
Signed Shade Seeker
Dear SS: Try not to plant a tree any closer than 20 feet from your foundation. Remember that a tree can grow very large, even in our cold climate, and, eventually, it may block your view, your front door, your driveway, your garage or touch your house or roof. It is important to research the mature size of the tree you intend you plant so you can put it in the best location. It is heartbreaking to cut down a healthy mature tree because it blocks access to the garage or house.
Dear Flora: I planted some trees two years ago but they are now looking very untidy. Can you give me some advice on how to prune?
Signed: Outta Control
Dear OC: Young trees are often not trained well in the nurseries and look very untidy after a couple of years. The many benefits to pruning a young tree include improved structural stability, increased longevity and reduced maintenance costs later in the tree's life. If you follow five very easy steps described in the following You Tube video, you will be surprised how easy pruning is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHnv0AstLK4. Tree pruning information is also available on the Old Farmer's Almanac website at http://www.almanac.com/content/pruning-pointers-trees-and-shrubs.
Dear Flora: How do I meet other gardeners in the Pinedale area?
Signed: Tired of Winter
Dear TOW: Come to our third-Tuesday monthly gardener gathering for tips from Flora and other local gardeners! The next Sage and Snow Garden Club get-together will be May 17th at the Sublette County Weed and Pest Office located at 12 South Bench Road, Pinedale (307-367-4728). Social time starts at 4:30 P.M., followed by a short business session at 5:00 P.M. Please send any questions for Flora to P.O. Box 2280, Pinedale, WY, 82941 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about the Garden Club, go to our website at https://sites.google.com/site/sageandsnowgardenclub/.