Caring for Evergreens and Shade Trees
- Adjust how you water a young tree as it gets established. When it is first planted and for the following growing season, provide water directly on the planting site. You can allow a hose to trickle gently over the root ball, making a shallow saucer of soil below the leafy canopy to keep the water from running off.
Once the tree has established enough new roots to grow vigorously, use soaker hoses to water just outside the perimeter of the tree canopy. This will encourage the roots to spread outward, providing a stronger foundation for the tree.
Properly mulching your trees will keep the soil most and eliminate weeds.
- Mulch the tree properly. Put a layer of bark mulch, wood chips, or compost from the drip line (below the perimeter of the branch canopy) to 4 inches from the trunk (not too close or problems can arise). Mulching will help eliminate weeds and keep the planting site moist. It also looks good and gives the landscape a polished feel.
Avoid excessively thick layers of mulch, which can limit soil aeration in heavy ground and cause roots to smother. Another problem occurs when thick heaps of mulch break down into rich organic matter. Shallow-rooted trees like maples can grow thick root mats in the mulch (which is not good), and some of those roots may start to girdle (which is even worse!). Shallow roots are also subject to excessive drying in summer.
- Prevent summer spider mite attacks on your evergreens by spraying susceptible plants with a hose every day during hot, dry weather. If you're out watering the garden, turn the hose on the evergreen foliage as well. Water helps to dislodge spider mites and discourage their multiplication, a great nontoxic preventative.
Keep reading to learn how to safeguard your trees against the ravages of winter weather.
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