How to take care of your trees

The Drumheller Mail - - REAL ESTATE -

Lawns and gar­dens tend to draw the bulk of home­own­ers’ at­ten­tion come spring and sum­mer. But it’s im­por­tant that prop­erty own­ers tend to the trees that dot their prop­erty as well.

The types of trees home­own­ers have on their prop­erty may in­flu­ence when it’s time to trim and prune the trees. Home­own­ers con­cerned about tree main­te­nance should speak with lo­cal land­scap­ing pro­fes­sion­als and tree ser­vices about car­ing for the trees on their spe­cific prop­er­ties, but there are a few tricks to prun­ing trees that home­own­ers should keep in mind when dust­ing off their gar­den­ing tools. • Prune at the right time. The Ar­bor Day Foun­da­tion® notes that prun­ing dur­ing dor­mancy (i.e., win­ter) is the most com- mon prac­tice. Prun­ing in late win­ter, af­ter the sea­son’s cold­est tem­per­a­tures have passed, can lead to im­pres­sive and healthy growth in the spring. The ADF ad­vises that some trees, in­clud­ing maple and birches, may bleed sap dur­ing prun­ing. But this is nor­mal and should cease as the tree starts to bloom. Novice land­scap­ers should con­firm with land­scap­ing pro­fes­sion­als about the best time to prune trees on their prop­er­ties to en­sure they are not in­ad­ver­tently harm­ing the trees or mak­ing them more vul­ner­a­ble to fun­gus. • Use ap­pro­pri­ate tools. When re­mov­ing branches, use sharp tools to min­i­mize dam­age to the bark. The ADF notes that young trees are best pruned with one-hand prun­ing shears with curved blades. For trees with high branches, use a pole pruner or hire a pro­fes­sional tree ser­vice. Novices should avoid any­thing too risky when prun­ing their trees, leav­ing the more dif­fi­cult jobs to the pro­fes­sion­als. • Fol­low the rules of prun­ing. When prun­ing trees, the ADF ad­vises home­own­ers fol­low the one-third and a quar­ter rules of prun­ing. In ad­her­ence to th­ese rules, no more than a quar­ter of a tree’s crown is re­moved in a sin­gle sea­son, and main side branches are at least one-third smaller than the di­am­e­ter of the trunk. When trim­ming de­cid­u­ous trees, home­own­ers should never prune up from the bot­tom more than one-third of the tree’s to­tal height. Fi­nally, where pos­si­ble, home­own­ers should aim for side branches that form an­gles that are one-third off ver­ti­cal to form 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock an­gles with the trunk. • Wa­ter cor­rectly. Like lawns and gar­dens, trees need wa­ter to thrive. In­suf­fi­cient wa­ter­ing can make it hard for trees to thrive in sum­mer, but over­wa­ter­ing can be harm­ful, too. The ADF sug­gests that wa­ter­ing each tree for 30 sec­onds with a steady stream of wa­ter from a gar­den hose equipped with a dif­fuser noz­zle should be suf­fi­cient. Newly planted trees may need more help as they try to es­tab­lish deep root sys­tems, so con­sider lay­ing mulch around newly planted trees. Mulch helps the soil re­tain mois­ture and form deeper, stronger root sys­tems.

Trees main­te­nance should be a pri­or­ity as home­own­ers once again start tend­ing to their lawns and gar­dens.

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