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Loving Your Little Landscape

I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.

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Loving Your Little Landscape

Eight Tips For Giving Your New Tree The Best Chance At A Long Life

by Charlotte White

Unfortunately, by the time most homeowners notice that one of their trees is suffering from a problem, its health is already in a very poor state. Skilled arborists can sometimes correct problems involving a tree's structure or help the tree fight off bacterial infections or pests, but the best way to keep your tree healthy (and avoid the need for removal) is to keep the tree from becoming sick or damaged in the first place.

You can never completely eliminate the possibility that a tree will fall victim to pests, pathogens or traumatic events, but you can help improve the chances that your tree will remain healthy by employing the following suggestions.

  1. Select the right tree for the location. Proper species (and cultivar) selection is the single most important factor to giving the tree a good chance at a long, healthy life. Consider its size, growth habit, water needs, temperature preference and shade tolerance.  
  2. Do not plant the tree too deeply. When trees are planted too deeply, the base of the tree becomes susceptible to "butt rot," which predisposes the trunk to breakage.
  3. Do not line fill the bottom of the planting hole with gravel. People often mistakenly believe that by adding gravel to the bottom of the planting hole, they will improve drainage. In actuality, doing so actually slows rate at which water drains from the soil.
  4. Remove any girdling roots during installation. Any roots that encircle the trunk of the tree or the major roots can block the flow of water and nutrients, ultimately killing the tree.
  5. Prune young trees to impart proper structure. Proper structure helps a tree remain healthy and it reduces the chances of the tree becoming hazardous over time. It is especially important to deal with co-dominant stems while the tree is young.
  6. Do not allow the ground over the roots to be compacted. Tree roots require tiny air spaces in the soil to obtain oxygen – soil compaction destroys these air pockets. Do not allow heavy items (such as cars) to travel across soil that contains tree roots.  
  7. Cover the tree's roots with 1 to 4 inches of organic mulch. Mulch helps to protect the roots from trauma, temperature extremes and foot traffic. Additionally, mulch helps the soil retain moisture.
  8. Water the tree infrequently, but deeply. Watering a tree too often encourages the development of shallow root systems, which make it harder for trees to survive during droughts. 

For more information, contact a company like Arborcare Tree Service.

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