Spring is upon us and we are itching to get back into the garden. The winter months, especially after the many storms we have experienced, have left us much to do. One of our chores is to assess the condition of our trees. The snow has caused some branches to split and/or fall. There may also be dead branches that should be removed. Or, we may want to open up the garden for some additional sunlight.
Unless you want to maintain a formal garden setting, most trees look better when they are left in a natural form. The best time to assess the ‘structure’ of the tree is when it is dormant. It is easier to clearly see what branches may need to be pruned when there are no leaves on the tree. To keep the natural form and appearance of a tree, do not try to shape it into a complete sphere or ball. That is not what nature intended.
One critical aspect of tree care is to never cut the central leader of the tree. Most all trees have a central spine that is essential to the structure of the tree. Again, this should never be cut. This will impair the life and healthy growth of the tree. It is better to determine the ultimate height of a specific tree before it is planted, rather than trying to control the height of a tree after it has been installed. A little research will save time and the creation of disfigured tree.
A few general rules to consider when tending to the care of a tree include the following conditions. Remove dead twigs and branches to prevent further problems from spreading. Remove any new shoots that emerge from the area around the trunk of the tree. Remove any branches that are crossing which may cause a wound from the friction of the branches when they move in the wind. A light pruning is recommended after the leaves of the trees appear. A ‘hard’ or more severe pruning is best to do when the tree is dormant (winter months).
Trees are the backbone any garden and landscape. We need to nurture and respect these special plants. They live a long time, sometimes hundreds of years, and our care can help to make sure that they live even longer.
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