If you want to plant and grow your own trees this year then you're in luck. This Tree Care Guide infographic is everything you've hoped for and more. Check it out below!
Tree Care Guide
Trees complete any homestead. They give shade, fruit and creates a great ambiance altogether. But did you know that there's so much more to caring for it? If you want to know how to choose and care for the trees you plant, this infographic will give you all the information that you need.
This infographic is specific to the mid-Atlantic region, but the tips given can relate to any region at all, so long as there is a tree to plant and soil to tend!
Thank you to Big Blog of Gardening for this great guide!
Here are the same facts again in writing:
The Ultimate Mid-Atlantic Tree Care Guide
Tree Species in the Mid-Atlantic Region
- Eastern White Pine
- Virginia Pine
- Eastern Hemlock
- White Oak
- Chestnut Oak
- Red Oak
- Willow Oak
- Silver Maple
- Red Maple
- American Holly
- Flowering Dogwood
Tree Care Guide:
1. Selecting and Planting Trees
Choose a tree and location
- “What kind of tree should I plant?” is the question most commonly asked when deciding on landscaping a yard.
- Things to consider: Species selection, space, location, hardiness, soil conditions, exposure and drainage.
- Decide on a location that will be best for the species of tree chosen.
- Dig the planting hole almost as deep as the root ball, and 2-3 times as wide, leaving undisturbed pedestal several inches high in center to place root ball on.
- Massage/loosen/trim the roots and remove the nursery stake.
- Place the tree in the center of the hole and fill in with soil around the root ball. Tamp down and add water as you backfill to keep air pockets from developing.
- Add Top Mulch composed of wood chips, shredded bark or leaves. Cover the soil as far out as practical with 2-3 inches of mulch to retain moisture, suppress weeds and improve soil composition.
- Water newly planted tree every 4-5 days.
- Avoid buying or staking trees unless absolutely necessary. Remove all buying/staking material after one year.
2. Fertilizing Trees
- Nutrient depleted soil may need to be fertilized to replenish missing nutrients. A soil test is often recommended to determine if this is the case.
- Do not fertilize or add amendments to newly planted trees during the first year.
- Do not use fertilizers with high numbers of nitrogen, phosphates and potassium. Organic, slow-release fertilizer is preferred to chemical fertilizers.
3. Watering Trees
The key to newly planted tree survival is providing adequate water.
- Year 1 – 3: It is most critical to provide adequate water during the annual growing season, between late spring and autumn.
- Year 4 and after: You can relax a bit on tree watering in later years but water may be needed during long periods of drought.
4. Mulching Your Trees
Mulching a newly planted tree ensures that moisture is available to roots over time and reduces grass competition.
- A good mulch (organic materials like leaves, bark, needles and wood chips) should ring the tree base (over the critical root zone) but never touch the trunk.
- Often, no fertilizer is necessary when quality composted mulch is used
- Year 1 -3: Maintain the mulch level with no more than 3 inches of material over the roots (the wider the better) but not touching the tree.
- Learn more about mulch here
5. Pruning Trees
When pruning a newly planted tree, only prune critical branches (dead or broken) and no other! It may be best to postpone pruning to avoid transplanting shock due to loss of leaves.
- Year 1 – 3: Prune lightly only critical branches or to eliminate extra leaders in the tree's first year. Goal is to create one main leader.
- Year 4 and after: Prune your tree for form and function every three years.
Protecting Your New Trees
8 Warning Signs of Tree Trouble
- Fine particles like wood dust on or by the trunk
- Smaller, discolored or damaged leaves
- Bark damage
- Detached limbs or stem tops
- Rot in the roots, stem branches
- Cracked trunks
- Broken, hanging branches
Lower the Risk of Storm Damage
Protect your tree from ice, wind and extreme storms.
Things that increase a tree's chances of blowing over:
- Trees where the home is less than five years old. Many of these trees will have root damage from lot clearing and home construction.
- Newly cleared areas with scattered trees remaining. The trees have not adjusted to the newly open grown conditions and higher winds. (New road construction)
- Areas with loose, gravelly soil.
Characteristics that increase a tree's susceptibility to storm damage:
- Rot in the roots, stem or branches.
- Trees with numerous small branches and twigs that create a sail effect (topping/poor pruning often causes this). Never top trees!
- Mechanical damage and poor maintenance (soil compaction, damaged tree)
Diseases and Pests
Insects and diseases can cause harm to almost any tree. A healthy tree is much less likely to succumb to an attack than a tree that is under stress.
Too much or too little water and nutrients in the plant make it susceptible to disease and insects.
If a pathogen is present and the environment is right then disease can occur. Look for pathogen-resistant tree varieties when available.
If a tree is under stress then it is more susceptible to a variety of damaging insects, including some that are specific and very harmful to certain tree species.
Special Care for Mature Trees
- A mature, healthy tree increases in value with age, purifies our air, and saves energy by providing cooling shade from summer's heat and protection from winter's wind.
- Regular preventive maintenance, designed to promote tree health and structural integrity, ensures a tree's value will continue to grow and prevents the development of more costly problems in the future.
- An effective maintenance program, including regular inspections and necessary follow-up care—pruning, mulching, fertilizing, and additional soil management—can identify problems and correct them before they become damaging or fatal.
Tree Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid
- Topping or Poor Pruning
- Choosing the Wrong Location to Plant
- Competing Weeds and Plants
- Under and Over Watering
- Invasive Species Threat
Do you think you have all you need to care for your trees? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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