In our previous post, we offered some tips to add to your (hopefully) growing arsenal of tree planting know-how. Among our recommendations were to be cognizant of your tree’s future growth trajectory. Most people don’t realize that includes the root path as well as above-ground future path. Other tips included having a purpose for your tree, even if it is merely aesthetic enjoyment. But before all else, you want to be sure to choose a tree that has a good chance to succeed here in Southeast Kansas. Luckily, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tree that isn’t going to thrive in our climate, namely because most people won’t sell trees that have no business being here!

In today’s post, we will continue with the theme of talking about tree care. After all, we have our own Kansas Certified Arborist here at TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living, Twila Brooks. Twila is adept in diagnosing current and future health issues and pitfalls the tree may encounter down the road. We excel in providing non-invasive, natural solutions that maintain the integrity of the tree and yard in which it is growing. Whether you have a commercial or residential tree care need, be sure to call in your local arborist Twila Brooks, who understands the subtleties of our climate.

Tree Planting Guide

Before we get into the growing aspect of this post, we want to highlight our very own step-by-step tree planting guide. Keep in mind these are general guidelines.

  • Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball (or container) and a full half foot deeper.
  • Backfill the hole and tamp the soil beneath the root ball.
  • Set the tree in your hole, while ensuring the root ball isn’t below ground level.
  • If you happen to have a container-grown tree, make sure you separate your roots in order to prevent them from growing in a circle.
  • If you have a ball and burlap tree, cut any strings and open up the top of the burlap.
  • Fill the hole, while making sure that all burlap is covered with soil. Tamp this soil lightly to make sure oxygen can get in. Our recommendation is to use Myke Tree and Shrub Transplanter in order to get optimal root development.
  • Use any extra soil you might have to build a dike around the tree to hold water.
  • Water thoroughly, and regularly. We recommend the supplemental Fertilome Root Stimulator in order to promote root development and reduce transplant shock.
  • Wrap the trunk to protect bark on fall planting.
  • Stake the tree lightly and maintain stakes for one year to assure correct growth. Run wires through rubber hose to protect bark.
  • Apply mulch to retain moisture and prevent grass root competition. Apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch around the plant, while keeping it away from stem or base of the tree, which could cause problems.
  • Use Fertilome Root Stimulator for the first three waterings to continue to promote healthy root and plant growth.

There you have it! A fantastic resource for you to use, provided by your friendly arborists at TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living. Now that we’ve sufficiently addressed the planting side of things, let’s talk about long-term tree care practices for developing and mature trees.

Purchasing a Mature Tree

Some people don’t want to wait half of a lifetime for their tree to grow taller than they are. If you are of a similar temperament, perhaps buying a more mature tree is a better route for you. On a commercial level, this is a fairly-well known practice. For instance someone involved in town city plantings at a park may not know where to begin with such an undertaking. If you fall into either of those categories, here are some quick-fire tips to help guide your purchasing process.

  • Find a tree with a viable trunk diameter, or caliper.
  • Healthy bark, with no holes or cracks
  • A pest and insect-free tree. Look for chewed leaves or sawdust in the trunk and limbs
  • Find a tree with low branches, because they can help caliper growth.
  • Try to find a tree with a bare-minimum of 8-12 inches between branches. This aids in the growth process.
  • Find crotches that are wide-angled. A crotch, in this instance, means the space between the trunk and a limb. Look for a wide-angled, strong crotch which is between 45 to 60 degrees. Time to get out your protractors, because doing this will help you select a tree that will be more likely to maintain health and strength in the long-run.

Tree Bark

As we mentioned in the above list on how to plant a tree, keeping an eye on your tree bark is an important component of good tree maintenance. Tree bark serves as a shield against a variety of environmental factors, among which are insects, bacterial infections, and wild animals, like Baloo the Bear, looking to get their itch satisfactorily scratched. Here’s a few tips about how to keep common backyard elements from being harmful.

  • Rubbing branches – friction is the primary issue in this case. Annual branch pruning to make sure your tree isn’t self-harming is a good idea.
  • Lawn Equipment – we are experts in lawn care as well as tree care here at TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living, and that means we have a great deal of respect for a properly maintained yard. But sometimes, trying to get every single blade of grass up against the trunk of a tree isn’t the best idea, even if it drives you insane. Weed-wacking is all well and good, but not at paying the unnecessary price at taking away bark from your tree base. If you you must cut every blade, take a pair of scissors to the tree, get down on your hands and knees, and give it a close trim, high and tight. Or, maybe, just live a smidgen of imperfection in your life, the choice is yours!

Tree Root Protection

While most home-owners who care about the health of their trees will tell you that root health plays a big role in the overall health of a tree, many do not know how to ensure proper tree root health. Out of sight, out of mind, is not a good principle to employ in this case. The fundamental point here is that tree roots need oxygen for the tree to survive. As we noted in our previous post, soil compaction (the soil being packed in too tightly) is often an issue that contributes to health problems, and even the death, of a tree. To compound the issue, compact soil means water will have a tougher time getting to the roots. Double trouble.

The Critical Root Zone

While some of this information needs to be applied on a case-by-case basis by a professional arborist, it’s still helpful if you are serious about tree maintenance. The critical root zone, or CRZ, is characterized as the circumference of the limbs of trees, which extend beneath the ground. Most mature trees will have roots that extend beyond the CRZ (up to 2 or 3 times beyond the CRZ), but in terms of soil compaction and ensuring that it doesn’t occur, your area of concern only fall within this CRZ.

Tree Services and More from TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living

While we have a passion for providing quality and affordable tree care services, we provide much more than that. We are experts in irrigation, lawn care, landscaping, weed control, and much more. If you are interested in any of our  Independence yard care services, please reach out to us today!