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How to Properly Care for Trees

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Authored by Suzanne Alicie in Gardening
Published on 10-05-2009

As you look around your property you will probably realize that you don’t normally pay much attention to the trees that surround you. Most of us think of trees as just a part of the landscape, self sufficient and permanent. However trees, especially young trees, can be vulnerable to many different dangers. If you take the time and make the effort to get your trees off to a good start and to take care of them through the years they will still be around when you are old.

This leaves the question of what exactly do trees need to be strong and healthy. To put it simply trees need moisture, a bit of fertilizer, and protection from the elements. Some may need pruning and trimming, and new trees might require a bit more care, but basically a little preventive care is all your trees need from you.

Water Trees Deeply

Many people water their trees faithfully when they are first planted and then assume that they will be fine. In reality trees need to be watered weekly for a few years. The amount of water that trees need varies depending upon the drainage of the soil, and the amount of rain that falls. This means you will need to monitor rain fall and make sure that your tree’s roots receive water without becoming soggy. Soggy soil around tree roots leads to rotting which will kill the tree.

When watering remember that the roots of the tree extend 2 to 3 times the size of the tree’s canopy and water accordingly.

Fertilize Trees in Fall

Autumn is the prefect time to fertilize your trees. Using either compost or a formulated fertilizer you must be sure to treat the entire root area of the tree. In order to make sure that the fertilizer reaches the roots you will need to have on hand a piece of rebar around 2 feet long, and a heavy hammer. Hammer the rebar into the ground and remove it in 3 foot intervals around the base of the tree. Move out two feet and repeat the process, until you have placed holes all the way around the tree in a circumference that encompasses the root area. Pour liquid fertilizer in each hole or spread compost over the area making sure that there is some in each hole. Water thoroughly.

Mulch Trees after Fertilizing

Once you have fertilized your trees for the winter spread a layer of mulch from the trunk of the tree to about 3 feet out from the base. Mulch keeps discourages weeds, and the growth of fungi and other sources of disease as well as protecting the roots, nourishing the soil and retaining moisture.

Protect Young Trees

By staking and wrapping young trees you are helping them get a straight start and protecting them from animals, weather and other problems that can harm young trees. Deer love the soft bark on new trees and will strip one and leave it to die overnight. Wrapping new trees in protective tape or even plastic will protect them and keep them warm through the winter.

Caring for your trees is not a difficult task, but it is one that will take some time. It‘s worth it to see your new baby trees grow tall, and to enjoy the shade from your mature trees year after year.

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