Terry’s Tree Tips

Terry Willenbrink
City Arborist Terry Willenbrink

Anytime of year is a good time to plant new trees, as long as they will be properly maintained.  Do not be fooled into thinking that maintenance on a young tree is unnecessary simply because the tree appears to be growing well. Trees change and grow rapidly. Young trees, those that have been in the ground fewer than five years, require special attention.

Early prevention treatment helps assure a long and healthy life for trees.

  1. Provide adequate water. Too little – or too much- water can be extremely damaging. Trees need one inch of water per week, especially June through October. Run a garden hose at half throttle along the base of the tree for one hour each week. A tree injector attached to the garden hose is even better as the water gets straight to the tree roots. Purchase a tree injector at any garden store. An irrigation system or a low-cost soaker hose with a water timer can help maintain a regular schedule of watering.
  2. Protect the root collar. Excess soil near the buttress roots and root collar of the tree should be removed to prevent disease. Plant the root ball of the tree 1-to-2 inches higher than the existing ground and grade the soil up to it.
  3. Conduct a soil analysis and fertilize appropriately. An analysis of the soil under the tree will reveal the nutrients required for rapid growth. Most trees that come out of a nursery have been fertilized and will not require any fertilization for the first year.
  4. Use mulch. A layer of mulch two inches above the soil will conserve moisture and add beneficial organic matter to the soil. It also helps protect trees from lawn mowers and trimmers. Remember to not let the mulch touch the trunk of the tree.
  5. Prune selectively. Proper pruning, preferably by a certified arborist, will encourage a strong growth structure in young trees. Limbs that compete with the central leader should be removed.
  6. Inspect for insects and diseases. Regular inspections by an arborist will reveal any pest and/or disease problems that may not be visually obvious.
Silver Maple
Silver Maple Weller Park

Use a deer guard from August through January to protect the tree from deer rutting. Providing young trees the attention they need from the beginning will help them grow into healthy, mature trees in the future.

If you would like more information concerning trees you can contact a certified arborist or visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture website at agri.ohio.gov.

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