Since some of you have now had your city-planted trees for several years, we wanted to address a question you may have: When is it time to start trimming, limbing up, fertilizing, or otherwise maintaining my new tree?
Each tree will have its own needs, but here are several thoughts and some links to get you started:
If you are having to duck to mow the grass, or if branches are blocking the sidewalk for walkers, you might want to limb up your tree. Don’t cut too close to the trunk, but don’t cut too far either. Cut right outside the “branch collar,’ the slightly swollen-looking area where the branch meets the trunk.
Never “top” a tree unless an arborist has told you it is necessary.
In ideal circumstances, trees get all the nutrients they need from the soil, but there may be times you want to fertilize. Fall to mid-Spring is actually the best time to fertilize, when the tree is focusing on its root system, rather than leaves, blossoms, etc. Spreading granular fertilizer might help your grass, but it is not necessarily going to get nutrients to the roots, where the tree can absorb them. A root feeder is a simple device with an easy learning curve. Your garden center or arborist can help you decide if your tree needs to be fertilized, and what kind of fertilizer it needs.
Here is a link to tree information provided by the Arbor Day Foundation, the organization responsible for our designation as a Tree City USA. Their advice can go a long way to helping you feel confident about caring for your trees.
Thank you again for helping us to Re-Tree the Park!
Jane, Joe, Mary, Cindi