Restoring a Tree’s Health
If you own a tree that seems to be languishing, perhaps from minor stresses in its life, it could just need a ‘boost’ to get revitalized.
But before you do anything, have the problem professionally diagnosed by an expert at Hoerr Nursery to make certain you’re doing the right thing, at the right time. If a jump start is recommended here are the steps we suggest.
Scrape off any turf around the tree to at least a 3-4′ diameter ring, larger for bigger trees. Mulch the area with an organic material such as shredded hardwood bark, cedar or cypress mulch to a depth of 2-3″. Leave a 2″ bare soil gap around the trunk. Every few months aerate the mulch by gently fluffing or turning it over. Check annually to maintain the depth.
Water is crucial to your tree’s health but more plants are lost to too much than too little. The first step is to know your soil. Heavy clay soils hold water, so less frequent watering is required. By contrast loose sandy soil drains readily. Water as needed. Check the soil around the tree before watering. Dig your finger or a trowel down to see if the soil is dry.
Next, observe your plant. If the leaves wilt and respond to water, water more often. If wilt occurs and/or the leaves turn lighter green and do not recover after watering, then you are watering too much. Reduce irrigation and let the soil dry down.
Generally speaking an established tree, one that has been in its location for two years or more, will not require any extra watering except in times of drought.
Around Thanksgiving wrap the trunk with tree wrap. Starting at the bottom stretch and wrap the material tightly around and over itself, winding up the trunk to the first set of limbs. Be generous with the overlap. Cut, tuck in the end and secure with tape or twine. Remove the wrap in the spring. Tree wrap offers protection from frost crack and critters, and is especially important for smooth-barked trees less than 4″ in diameter, and trees of any size and type in their new location less than three years.
To help prevent borers on newly planted trees or those you are nursing back to health, we recommend Bayer Advanced Garden™ Tree & Shrub Insect Control. One application of this liquid insecticide provides 12 month control of borers, aphids, Japanese beetles, sawflies and even scale, thrips and whiteflies. And it is extremely easy to apply. Simply add the required amount (1 ounce per inch of trunk circumference) to water and slowly pour the solution evenly around the tree or shrub, as close to the trunk or main stem as possible. No spraying, no complicated mixing and no repeat applications. Any newly installed tree or tree coping with adverse environmental conditions is a potential borer target.
Fertilize the tree two times per year with Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food. Once in the late winter-early spring, March 1 to mid-April, or about 4 to 6 weeks before the buds break. Fertilize again the in fall from Labor Day until the soil freezes. After fertilizing, water heavily to dilute the concentration and move it into the root zone.
Don’t combine fall fertilizing with fall pruning. When fertilizing in the fall, prune in late winter or early spring. Remove dead wood at any time.