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February Tree & Shrub Tasks

We’ve discussed pruning trees in winter while they are defoliated and their skeletons are visible. If you haven’t had your trees pruned yet, please call so we can schedule you. Remember, tree pruning isn’t a do-it-yourself project.

Our crews will continue pruning most trees even after they leaf out, but they know how to do it safely for both the tree and themselves. We will begin putting off pruning several trees for awhile in the spring, especially those that “bleed.” Maple is the most common. Their “blood,” of course, is maple sap.

This is also a good time to prune deciduous shrubs. Like trees, they are dormant and their structure is visible, allowing you to see deeply inside their thicket of branches. We don’t recommend that you prune spring flowering shrubs (and trees) like lilacs now, however. To the untrained eye, buds often look the same, and there’s a real danger that you’ll prune off this spring’s flowers – the very reason why you planted the shrub or tree. Our professionals are trained to differentiate flower and leaf buds.

Suppose one of your favorite shrubs is planted in the wrong place? Or you find that a tree you planted several years ago is not doing well because it’s the wrong tree in the wrong place? A good time to move it would be soon after the snow melts and the ground thaws. The ground will be soft, making the job of digging the plant out of its current site easier. If you re not among the faint of heart and are willing to tackle this heavy, dirty job yourself, here are a few tips:

  • Dig all the way around the plant. In the case of shrubs, dig out to the dripline. Dig trees either three feet for every inch of trunk diameter or to the dripline if that’s practical.
  • Take as much root mass as you can. If you have to cut roots, do so with sharp pruning shears or pruning saw rather than the shovel blade.
  • Replant the same way that you would a nursery-fresh shrub or tree. Dig the hole two to three times wider than the rootball but only as deep. Place the plant in the hole and backfill, lightly tamping down the soil as you go to eliminate air pockets.
  • Don’t stake trees unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you have to stake, use an elastic material rather than wire and don’t leave the stakes and guys in place for more than a year.
  • Be sure your transplanted plant gets plenty of water, just like a new nursery plant.
  • Use the remaining soil from the transplant holes to fill in the hole where the tree or shrub was planted.

If you are among the faint of heart, one of our landscape crews would be happy to transplant your shrub or tree for you.

One comment on “February Tree & Shrub Tasks

  1. Luckily I have a Tree Expert to help me out, but those are really good tips. Thank You for sharing!

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