Read these 53 Trees and Shrubs Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Garden tips and hundreds of other topics.
Here are five steps to the successful planting of a tree.
* Put the tree in place and look at it. Walk around the tree. Turn it so its best side is facing toward your view. Make sure the trunk is straight.
* Check the root level. Lay a long piece of board or hoe handle across the hole. The top of the rootball, or the spot where there is a color change on the trunk of a bare root tree, is where the soil should reach. Planting too deep or shallow can kill a tree.
* Fill the hole halfway with soil. Gently step on it. Step back and make sure the tree has not tipped. Gently fill the hole with water, and let it soak in. Check the tree again and add soil up to the proper level.
* Create a shallow berm around the tree. For the next year or so, whenever the weather is dry, fill the berm repeatedly, until no more water soaks in.
* Spread one to three inches of mulch over the planting hole. This is enough to keep weeds down and conserve moisture. Do not mulch any deeper than this. Mulch applied too thick can invite rodents and other pests.
Flowering shrubs should be pruned after they have finished blooming. Since a flowering shrub will channel its energy into making seeds, you should stay off that energy for future flower production by deadheading. Deadheading is possible on flowering shrubs that have large clusters of flowers, such as the hydrangea and lilac.
Newly planted trees receive much of their moisture from their root balls. Young trees need deep regular watering, especially during summer's heat. It is important to keep the soil around the base of young trees moist, as the stress from excessive heat can kill them. Deep watering once a week is recommended.
If you are having problems with rodents eating on your trees and shrubs, you should welcome barn owls onto your property. You can do this by providing barn owl boxes for them to nest. Barn owls will thank you for providing them with shelter by keeping your property clear of rodents.
To promote new root growth when transplanting shrubs, nick the root ball with a knife before planting. The roots natural response to this "injury" is to send out new growth. This will get the shrub established and growing quicker in its new home.
Crape Myrtles are beautiful trees, but many are prone to diseases such as powdery mildew and leaf spot. Researchers have done tests on 43 Crape Myrtle varieties, and have identified four that are highly resistant to these diseases.
* Tonto(fuchsia flowers)
* Tuscarora(coral pink flowers)
* Tuskagee(dark pink flowers)
* Fantasy(white flowers)
After positioning a balled and burlapped tree into the planting hole, cut away as much of the burlap as possible. It is perfectly fine to leave the portion of the burlap the tree is sitting on in the hole. If the ball has a wire basket or wire mesh around it, remove it.
There are some beautiful trees that when sited properly on a large piece of land, can lend an air of beauty and grace to your landscape. European Larch, Sour Gum, Korean mountain ash and Sweet Gum all have gorgeous spring and autumn foliage, interesting bark and beautiful shapes.
To transplant trees and shrubs, prune off any dead or damaged roots before you plant. When planting, the hole should be large enough to accommodate the roots when they are spread out in their natural shape.
It is no longer recommended that you prune the top of trees and shrubs when transplanting. Research has found no evidence that this helps, and there is a possibility that such pruning removes carbohydrate reserves that the plant could use to grow new roots.
In order to provide adequate air circulation in your orchard, apple trees should be spaced 16 feet apart. Besides promoting air circulation, this spacing also helps to provide each apple tree with adequate sunlight, as well as making access for annual pruning easier.
Thinning out as applied to trees and shrubs means removing branches or stems down to their base - either to the ground or to the fork. Use shears or a saw to thin out dried, dead, damaged, or diseased stems and branches. Also, thin out overcrowded stems that block out too much of the sun.
Some ornamental fruit trees, like the ornamental pear, are best planted away from walkways and buildings. They drop small inedible fruits on the ground in the fall which can stick to shoes, walkways and stairs creating a big mess. In the spring, ornamental fruit trees drop blossoms that can also stick to your shoes -- which can end up on your carpets and floors.
The butterfly bush, also known as buddleia davidii, is a great shrub for attracting butterflies. The butterfly bush is a hardy compact shrub which is sometimes referred to as "summer lilac." The butterfly bush produces fragrant clusters of flowers that are 12 to 18 inches long. Pink, white, blue, and purple are the top choices in butterfly bushes.
The shrub itself can grow up to ten feet tall and ten feet wide. For butterfly watching, this shrub is best planted by a window, or beside a porch.
If you are experiencing any of these problems with a tree, you may want to consider having it removed.
*The tree is a hazard to your property and safety. This could mean the tree has the potential to fall on your home or vehicle. Many people also remove trees if they block the visibility at the end of driveways.
*The tree is diseased, dying or dead.
*The tree's roots are starting to run into your plumbing or under your foundation.
*The tree is limiting your gardening efforts. If the tree casts so much shade that you are unable to grow a vegetable or flower garden, you may want to consider removing it.
Lilacs are enormously popular for good reason. A couple of these shrubs can perfume an entire yard! Lilacs come in many colors, from pale pink, mauve to purple. They can grow anywhere, either standing alone or mixed in with other shrubs. The Lilac requires no pruning. However, if it gets too leggy it can be cut back.
If the leaves of euonymus turn yellow and drop, check the stems and undersides of the leaves. Look for tiny, needle-like, white insects and a scattering of small, brown, shell-like shapes. This is euonymus scale. The males are white and the females are brown.
Water mature trees where they can use it -- out over their feeder roots. Established trees do not have feeder roots close to the trunk. In fact, watering at the trunk can cause rot. A good tip is to set your sprinkler at least three feet away from the trunk of an established tree.
If you have notice webbing in the branch forks or at their ends of your ornamental and shade trees, you probably have fall webworms. If left unchecked, they can very quickly defoliate your trees. As soon as you spot them, handpick or spray bacillus thurengiensis (Bt)on the webs, branches and foliage to eliminate the caterpillars.
Bt is specific to this family of insects and will not harm beneficial bugs, animals or humans.
The Bottlebrush buckeye is a large shrub that can add texture and color to a shady or sunny garden. Its long bristly spikes of white flowers rise above compound, palm-shaped leaves which create a very magnificent scene in the summer. This shrub can grow eight to 12 feet high, and up to 15 feet wide. The bottlebrush buckeye can add character to most any large garden or yard.
*Prune mature trees when their lower limbs get in the way. These are branches that droop or hit you in the face.
*Prune any dead limbs off of mature trees. Dieback is normal, particularly in the lower limbs or branches that do not get enough light.
*Trim mature trees if their crowns are too dense. When the canopy is so heavy that nothing can grow beneath the trees, some thinning is recommended.
*Trim mature trees that have suffered storm damage. Limbs that have been broken and severely damaged should be removed -- as soon as it is safe to do so.
If you live in a very dry area and have planted trees or shrubs away from your main gardening area and water hoses, collect gallon plastic jugs for watering. Drill a small hole in the lid of each jug, make a small pit in the soil around each tree or shrub, and invert the jugs so they can drip. Refill the jugs with water as needed.
When pruning hedges, you should remember to leave the base of your hedge slightly wider than the top. Doing so will allow sunlight to get to the bottom of the hedge.
If the top of the hedge is thicker and wider than the base, the lower branches of your hedge will become starved for light and die.
At the end of the growing season and before cold weather sets in, you should pick up and dispose of fallen rose and peony leaves. These leaves can harbor disease and pests over the winter if they are allowed to remain on the ground. You should not place rose and peony leaves in your compost pile. Either burn the leaves or put them in plastic bags and dispose of them.
The blue mist shrub, also known as "bluebeard" is a small shrub that produces feathery blue flowers starting in August and lasting till frost.
These shrubs can be bunched together and used as an informal hedge or as an accent to low growing perennials.
Care should be taken when planting your blue mist shrubs. These shrubs like to be in a bed with excellent drainage. Blue mists also thrive when organic matter is mixed in with the soil.
Dogwood anthracnose, which affects Pacific Dogwood, causes splotches on leaves and twig dieback. Prune out and destroy infected dogwood twigs and use fungicidal sprays of benomyl to control the disease. Start spraying at bud break and continue until dry weather arrives.
Young trees need less staking than we think. Roots need to wiggle around a little -- it stimulates them to grow. Staking is only necessary if the tree is very thin or your site receives a lot of wind.
If you must stake a new tree, use two stakes, one on each side of the tree for support. Make sure the loops around the tree are loose and that they do not chafe. The stakes should be removed after the first year.
One of the most vulnerable parts of a tree is its roots. When you have to work the soil around your trees, lightly loosen the soil to avoid breaking the roots which are near the surface.
Avoid parking cars and other heavy equipment on your lawn and under your trees. This adds stress to tree roots and increases soil compaction.
Preventive maintenance is the best way to stay off camellia petal blight. First, remove old damp mulch from the surrounding area. Keep the bed clean and cleared of debris. Do not water overhead, as this sets up the conditions for this fungus to grow. Pick off and dispose of all browned flowers.
Terraclor is often used to control petal blight, but the above suggestions work much more effectively.
Size is one of the major considerations to have in mind when purchasing a tree. Today, many yards are small. Take your yard size and the canopy size of the tree at maturity into mind to make an informed tree buying decision. You may not want a 60-70 foot tree in your yard with its huge canopy, if you have limited space.
When planting a bare yard, it is a great temptation to want the biggest trees possible. However, buying large trees can create problems. Larger trees are more difficult to plant, and they go into shock much more often then younger, smaller trees.
Smaller trees are less likely to cause problems, and the fast-growing varieties catch up very quickly.
The leaf miner larva is a pale green to whitish maggot that tunnels inside leaves. The leaf miner larvae leave behind a whitish trail as they move about. Holly, boxwood, and locust are particularly susceptible to damage. In general, the damage is mostly cosmetic. Cultivating the soil well in the early spring and again in the fall is a good natural way to destroy the cocoons and expose them to birds.
For small yards, pick trees that will grow no more than 15-20 feet in height. An overly large tree in a small space, can present an unbalanced sense of scale.
Birch, with its lighter foliage and slender trunk is a good choice, as is Higan Cherry, Full Moon Maple and Ornamental Plum.
For an eye-catching conversation piece, plant a Peegee Hydrangea. This shrub reaches 25 feet and has white panicles which change to pink as they age. Leaves color from yellow to red-purple in the fall.
Peegees require plenty of moisture for good flower development. They are hardy in Zones three to eight and require little care. Peegees can be planted in the sun or shade, but they do flower better in sunny locations.
If the leaves on your magnolia are dropping, and you notice shiny bumps on the bark, you probably have scale. Magnolias are susceptible to scales and need to be watched for this problem.
Another problem which may cause magnolias to drop their leaves may be improper fertilization causing high salt damage to the tree.
Shallow watering is the third most common cause of leaf droppage in magnolias.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|