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Tree Tips

New Trees for 2013-14

Tree Selection
Before you purchase a tree consider:
  • Where to plant (site selection) 
  • What tree best suits your site 
  • How to plant correctly 
  • Aftercare (long term maintenance) 

The City Forestry program will provide, free of charge, two publications to help you select appropriate trees for your landscape: 

Crabapples: Attractive Tree Selection

An Ornamental Crabapple is a colorful choice for a small tree in your landscape. See 34 varieties in fruit and flower at the Crabapple Grove in Syringa Park. Printable brochure

NEW Tree Planting Standards

Arborists and landscape contractors are following new transplanting standards for trees (ANSI A 300). Recent research found that planting trees to deeply can cause decline, and ultimately, death of landscape trees due to stem girdling roots. When planting a container grown, balled and burlaped, or bareroot tree home owners should locate the point where the trunk flares at the base of the tree and place that within 2 inches of the finished grade or at the grade of the area around the tree. This may require removing some soil from the top of the root ball. For more information print the brochure or borrow the video Preventing Stem Girdling Roots from the Lewiston Library.

Other changes in the tree planting standards deal with pruning and staking or guying. Prune off only broken or diseased branches at the time of transplant. Use guy wires and stakes only when necessary and remove in one year it staked.

General Tree Tips
Water the roots with a deep root feeder or trickling hose for an hour twice a week during dry periods.

Mulch with wood chips 3"-6" deep out as far from the trunk as possible. Mulch keeps the soil moist and cool and most importantly keeps lawnmowers from damaging the trunk.

Prune off dead or broken branches and sucker sprouts periodically.
Useful Vegetation Patterns to Help Wildlife
The arrangement of food sources, protective cover and water will make a big difference in the kinds and quantity of wildlife you attract to your yard. Some basic principles include:

  • To see more birds and to provide for their safety, plant cover trees or shrubs within 10-15 feet of water and  feeders.
  • When possible, provide unbroken travel lanes (rows of trees, hedges, a brushy fence row, etc.) between wooded areas.
  • Edge - where woods or shrubbery meet a lawn or old field - is usually the richest location for wildlife. This is due to the combination of foods available, sun and shade, and the security of an escape route. Irregular edges are better than straight lines.

A shaggy unnatural appearance is generally a result of topping or tipping where main branches are cut back and left as protruding unsightly stubs.

Topping is very harmful to the health of your tree.Tree Pruning

On small branches make a pruning cut at a lateral bud or another lateral branch. Remove branches at the point they join larger diameter limbs or the trunk itself rather than leaving a stub.

Make proper pruning cuts just beyond the "branch collar" where the branch joins the larger limb.

First cut part way through the branch at A, then cut it off at B. Make the final cut just outside the branch collar, at C.

Making proper pruning cuts just outside the branch collar will produce healthier, better looking trees.

Winterize Your Conifers
Drought is something we usually think of in the summer, but for a conifer, lack of water in the winter is also a danger. The reason is that most conifers hold their leaves (needles) throughout the winter and continue to transpire (the normal process of giving off water). Therefore, water must be available for uptake by the roots. A dry autumn, followed by winter freezing and desiccating (drying) wind can brown the foliage of large conifers and spell disaster for young ones.

Prevent winter drying by deep watering in late autumn. For small conifers, soak the soil 12"-14" deep with a slow running garden hose, continue to water in the winter if the ground is dry and not frozen. A leaf or wood chip mulch 2"-4" deep will help retain the moisture and prevent deep freezing of the soil.

Gravel next to the trunk will protect the bark from the teeth of burrowing rodents.

Remove Tree Sap & Pitch from Your Vehicle
To remove tree sap or pine pitch from your vehicle's surface, use finger nail polish remover on a cotton ball. After the sap is removed, make a paste of water and baking soda to wash the affected area, then apply wax.
A gentler way, Use mineral sprits (it will also remove tar). Use a soft terry towel or wash cloth dampened with mineral sprits. After removal, wash the car and apply wax to the affected area.