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Choosing the Right Type of Tree

When viewing the lower trunk, it goes into the ground like a fence post goes into a hole. There is virtually no change in diameter where the trunk and soil meet. As trees age, many develop a trunk spread at ground level where the big supporting buttress roots flare away from the trunk. When in doubt, dig with your fingers close to the trunk. You are looking for large roots in the top inches of soil.

In Too Deep?

If all that is visible are small roots and no trunk flare, normal respiration cannot occur. The tree declines earlier and sometimes more dramatically that it should. There may be slowed growth or early loss of leaves in the fall. This also happens for trees planted above grade. The tree is not healthy and droughts and severe winters take more of a toll on the tree. If the tree was planted above grade and you want to correct it, rake the mulch away from under the tree.

Use the same garden soil as what is in the area and slope the soil gently away from the trunk in all directions. Soil goes on the sides, not the top.

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Rake gently to loosen the soil that is already there, then mulch your much larger planting mound. If the soil is too wet and this is the reason the tree is perched on a soil pillow, the best choice is to find somewhere else to install the tree. Only a few trees can grow in wet soils and it may not be the one you chose. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. Rejuvenating old fruit trees. Resources on hemlock woolly adelgid. All-season trees: Paperbark maple. An evergreen windbreak to the north blocks cold winds in winter.

Good tree care starts with a healthy tree. Tree watering is a key part of tree care, but it is difficult to recommend an exact amount due to the variety of climates. A few guidelines will help you to water your trees properly. For new trees, water immediately after you plant a tree.

During the first couple growing seasons, your newly planted tree is expending a lot of energy trying to get its roots established in the soil. Especially during the first few summers of your new trees life, it will have a difficult time dealing with heat and drought. You can make this easier by providing water and covering the soil with wood-chip mulch. Deep watering can help speed the root establishment.

Avoid Over-Fertilizing Your Trees

Deep water consists of keeping the soil moist to a depth that includes all the roots. Not enough water is harmful for the tree, but too much water is bad as well. Over-watering is a common tree care mistake.

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Please note that moist is different than soggy, and you can judge this by feel. A damp soil that dries for a short period will allow adequate oxygen to permeate the soil. You can check soil moisture by using a garden trowel and inserting it into the ground to a depth of 2", and then move the blade of the trowel back and forth to create a small narrow trench.

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Then use your finger to touch the soil. If it is moist to the touch, then they do not need water. If your area constantly deals with drought you will want to consider trees listed as drought-tolerant.


On the opposite side of the spectrum if your area deals with a large amount of moisture or wet conditions, here are a few trees that will do better in wet conditions: Baldcypress , Shellbark Hickory , Red Maple , Silver Maple , Paper Birch , River Birch , and Weeping Willow.

Proper pruning technique is important for a healthy tree.

Planting it "Just right!"

Please review our animated Tree Pruning Guide as well as videos on why pruning is necessary , the rules of pruning , and the ABCs of pruning. This depends to a large extent on why you prune. Light pruning and the removal of dead wood can be done anytime. Otherwise, below are some guidelines for the different seasons. Keep in mind, however, that individual species may.

Pruning during dormancy is the most common practice. It results in a vigorous burst of new growth in the spring and should be used if that is the desired effect. It is usually best to wait until the coldest part of winter has passed. Another reason to prune in the summer is for corrective purposes.

Selecting a Healthy Tree

Defective limbs can be seen more easily. For trees that bloom in spring, prune when their flowers fade. Trees and shrubs that flower in mid- to late summer should be pruned in winter or early spring. Because decay fungi spread their spores profusely in the fall and wounds seem to heal more slowly on fall on cuts, this is a good time to leave your pruning tools in storage.

In addition to these tips, we offer several resources for more detailed tree care, pruning, and planting techniques:. Choosing the Right Type of Tree Proper tree care begins with selecting the right tree and planting it in the right place. Your end goal will determine the suitability of different trees.

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Planting site limitations. What is your hardiness zone? What is the maximum height and spread for a tree in the space? What are the sun exposure and soil conditions? This information is available for more than trees and woody shrubs in our Tree Guide. Selecting a Healthy Tree Good tree care starts with a healthy tree. Bare-Root Seedlings Roots should be moist and fibrous.