Category Archives: Trees

Planting and Caring for a New Tree

Planting and Caring for a New Tree
Planting and Caring for a New Tree

When you have decided on which kind of fruit tree you would like, and where you would like it, you can finally start to plant it. If you buy your tree from a nursery, be especially careful when you are taking it from the nursery to your house. I once had a friend who put the tree in the back of his truck, but clipped a sign on the way home. The entire tree snapped in half, and my friend was left a very sad man.

When you have gotten your tree safely back to your yard, look at the bottom of it and see how big the clump of roots is. It may seem like a lot of work now, but you want to dig a hole that is twice as wide as the clump, and just a little less deep. Making the hole slightly bigger than the clump of roots allows there to be room for the soil that you dug out to be put back in. Otherwise you would be stuck with a giant heap of unwanted dirt, and nowhere to put it. After you have dug the hole, line the hole with some compost or fertilizer so that the tree will grow better. After you have done this you should set your fruit tree into the hole, and spread the roots out evenly so that the tree will be strong and stable.

When all of this business is done, take the soil that you dug up and fill in the hole completely. Unless you want big piles of dirt everywhere, you should be sure you use all of the dirt even is it is a couple inches higher than the rest of your yard. This is because it will compress when watered. Before you firm up the soil, make sure that the tree is completely vertical and will not fall over. After you have checked that the tree is perfectly vertical you can gently firm up the soil.

If the tree’s trunk is not yet completely sturdy and can be bent, you need to tie the tree to a stake with a bit of rope. Be sure not to tie the rope
tightly to the tree, as you need to allow room for the trunk to grow. Once the tree is sturdy enough to withstand all types of weather, you can take
the stakes off of it. When all of this is done you should mulch around the base of the tree. If you live in an area where wildlife can access your
yard, then you should put a fence around your tree, because some animals will eat the bark off of young trees.

Once you have successfully planted your fruit tree it will start to bear fruit after it is three to five years old. Once your tree starts to carry a lot of fruit you should periodically pick some of the fruit so that the branches aren’t weighed down too much. If the fruit gets too thick, the branches can break off. On some years your tree might not bear as much fruit as others, but this should not worry you. Healthy trees often take years on vacation where they produce little or no fruit.

After you’ve planted your tree you might start to have some problems with pests. To help keep these pests away, always rake away old leaves, brush, or any other decaying matter that could be holding bugs that could be harmful to your tree.

To make sure that your tree always stays healthy in the long run, you should prune it during winter or spring. Water your tree every two weeks during dry times, and be sure not to hit your tree with a lawn mower or a weed eater because it could severely damage the growth process. Also just make sure that your tree gets plenty of water and plenty of sun, and your growing experience should be just great.

Picking the Ideal Spot for your Fruit Tree

When growing a fruit tree, choosing the right place to plant it is very important. One thing that you have to consider is its proximity to a building, electric line, side walk, or any other thing that might disrupt its growing. Once you have planted a fruit tree, the chances of unearthing it and changing its spot without killing it are very slim. Therefore you must always be sure you know which size fruit tree you have (dwarf, semi dwarf, or standard) and how big it will end up being once it is an adult. Dwarf trees need an area with an eight-foot diameter to grow. Semi-dwarf fruit trees can grow up to fifteen feet wide. Standard fruit trees can grow as wide as thirty feet. To keep the size of your fruit tree(s) at whatever level is best for you, be sure to prune them at least once a year.

Another thing that you have to consider when planting a fruit tree it whether or not it is getting all of the sunlight it needs to survive. You also have to be sure it doesn’t get too much sunlight. If your tree doesn’t get just the right amount of sun, it will die. Be sure that you do not plant it where the sunlight will be blocked by something. Also be sure that it isn’t being constantly hit be the sun at every moment of the day. Either of these can be fatal to the tree.

An important thing to keep in mind when choosing a spot for your tree is whether your spot will be convenient for watering, harvesting, and pruning. A place that would not be good to plant a fruit tree is close to your house or your fence. Any of these things could get in the way of you harvesting and pruning. If your tree grows over your fence the fruit could drop into your neighbor’s yard, which might seem like a nice thing but would probably offend some people. You should also be sure to plant your tree where it will be easy to water; if you already have a sprinkler system in your yard you could put your tree where the sprinkler could reach it. If you do not have a sprinkler system installed, you should put the tree within reach of your hose.

One of the most important things of all to keep in mind when planting a fruit tree is whether or not your soil in your yard is suitable for your tree. You have to make sure that is has enough nutrients, it has enough moisture, there is proper water drainage so your tree doesn’t drown, and it is the right texture. If your soil doesn’t have these traits then your tree won’t grow very well or produce good fruit. You can always alter your soil to be more suitable for your tree. One way that you can find out what kind of soil you have is by taking a sample of it and taking it to a lab. It may be expensive, but they can test it for what nutrients it has the most of. You’ll have the results back in a couple of days. If your soil is low in nutrients, you can go to your local nursery, or any other store with gardening supplies, and get fertilizer according to what your soil is most lacking in.

After you have checked on all of these things, you are finally ready to go choose what kind of fruit tree you want and get ready to plant it. When you are choosing your tree keep in mind the spot you picked, and buy the tree that would do best in that spot. The worst thing that can possibly happen is devoting time and money to growing a tree, only to end up having to remove it because of poor planning.

What to Look for when Buying a Tree

Although the process of growing and caring for a tree is generally
challenging and even difficult at times, sometimes one of the hardest
parts is choosing which kind you want. You have to choose between the many
sizes, fruit, and other attributes. The different sizes include: dwarf,
semi-dwarf, and standard. Your choice can affect everything about your
growing experience, including the amount of work you have to put in and
the amount of rewards (fruit) you will obtain.

Dwarf trees are ideal if you only have a limited amount of open space in
your yard. They take up as little as only as eight-foot diameter plot of
land. Although the dwarf fruit trees are smaller than the others, their
fruit is just the same size and the shortness makes them easier to prune
and harvest. Dwarf fruit trees aren’t known for living quite as long as
larger fruit trees. They begin to bear fruit after three to five years, so
if you are going to buy a dwarf fruit tree from a nursery you should
always check and see how old it is.

Semi-dwarf trees are medium sized, and when they are full grown they take
up a fifteen-foot diameter. Semi-dwarf fruit tree’s height can range from
as low as ten feet to as high as sixteen feet. To keep them from getting
to large you should prune them at least once a year. Occasionally
semi-dwarf fruit trees take a season off and produce little or no fruit,
but mostly they produce hundreds of fruit every year. Many people enjoy
having semi dwarf fruit trees because they produce more fruit than a dwarf
tree, and they are generally easier to harvest and maintain than a
standard fruit tree.

Standard sized fruit trees take up much more area the then any of the
smaller tree varieties, and they are also harder to keep manageable and to
harvest all of the fruit. If you do not prune them at least once a year
they can grow as large as thirty feet. If you are just looking for a good
tree to provide you with plenty of delicious fruit from and to keep your
yard shady, a standard sized tree would be the perfect tree for you.
Standard sized fruit trees take a very long time to reach their full
height, but they usually begin to bear fruit after only three to five
years.

The best variety of fruit tree to buy would be one that carries fruit and
does well in your area, because a local fruit tree takes less work and
grows the best. Although fruit trees bearing other, more exotic kinds of
fruit may seem more exciting, they usually won’t grow as well in your
area. That’s not to say it’s impossible. You can definitely try to grow a
more exotic tree, but it will take much more commitment and time.

Another factor involved in deciding on a type of tree is what kind of soil
you have, because some trees do better in damp soil while others are
better suited for drier soil. If it rains often in your area you would do
well to plant a plum tree. But if you do not get very much rain you would
do better to plant a pear tree or an apple tree. Before choosing which
type of fruit tree you would like, consult your local nursery or gardening
guru to find out which trees would do well in your area.

Other things that you should look for while looking for a fruit tree at
the nursery are things like how sturdy it is, if all of the branches are
evened out, how straight the tree stands, the condition of the roots that
support the tree, the length of the stem, and the height of the fruit from
the ground. Making a careful and deliberate decision can mean the
difference between having the stunted fruit from your lopsided tree being
eaten by animals all day long.

Japanese Maples, The Dwarf Acers

I have been known to rant on about how people should try to include more native plants within their garden. However, I would never dissuade someone from including a Japanese maple within his or her garden; on the contrary, I would heartily recommend it.

History and colour

The image of a Japanese maple in full leaf brings to my mind images of oriental calmness, still water and moss covered mountains. This elegant plant is a distinct part of the culture and consciousness of its native Japan through its use in both horticulture and art. In the year 1800, over 200 varieties of this plant were noted in Japan, this figure grew over the next 100 years, only to have those numbers knocked back again to 200 by the maelstrom of the second world war. Japanese maples also known as Acer palmatum or Acer japonicum are diminutive in stature compared to other trees. Heights range from 1 metre to 7 metres, leading many gardeners to class them as large shrubs rather than small trees. Words cannot do justice to the colour displayed by a Japanese maple; it must be seen to be believed. An Acer owner will experience fiery new spring growth, calm summer foliage and even fierier autumn chilled leaves.

Palmate or Dissectum

There are two main groups of Japanese maple. The Palmate group has a reasonably upright growth habit with layered branches and leaves that are made up of five to nine lobes. The Dissectum group rightly lives up to its name with its lobed leaves dissected, feathered and lace-like. I feel that the maples in the Dissectum group look particularly well if planted close by an informal water feature due mainly to their weeping, cascading form.

How to grow a dwarf acer

Japanese maples do well if planted in an east facing aspect, allowing it access to the morning sun and protecting it from the mid-day sun. Shelter from winds and a moist but free draining soil are also important cultivation requirements. A 7cm layer of bark mulch applied to the plants base will help prevent the plant drying out. To enable good growth you must feed your little piece of the orient, apply a liquid fertiliser in mid-spring and again in mid-summer at half strength. As these Acers are shallow rooted, they are ideal for planting amongst other shrubs with no check to growth. For a delightful oriental scene, try planting Acer palmatum with rhododendrons, azalea, bamboo and birch.

Specimens for container growing

Two beautiful specimen maples whose leaves are opening out within garden centres now are ìOrange Dreamî and ìBeni-Maikoî. ìOrange Dreamî is worth mentioning due to its fresh yellow/green lobed leaves. The young growing tips have an orange glow, providing an attractive contrast. ìBeni-Maikoî on the other hand produces lovely pink foliage in spring turning to dark red in summer. Both of these Acers grow to around 1 metre tall, an ideal size for container growing. If you choose to grow a Japanese maple in a container, try to select one that is sympathetic to the plants heritage, a glazed oriental style pot would be ideal.

How to Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees from Seed

How to Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees from Seed
How to Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees from Seed

Most Japanese Maple seeds ripen in the fall. Watch the tree and wait for the seeds to turn brown. The seeds are ready to be harvested when they are brown and can be easily removed from the tree.

The seeds are attached to a wing, it’s best to break the wing off before storing or planting the seeds. Japanese Maple seeds have a very hard outer coating as do many ornamental plants. Under natural conditions the seeds would have to be on the ground for almost two years before they would germinate. All that happens the first winter is the moisture softens the hard outer shell, and the second winter germination is beginning to take place.

In order for all of this to happen in the proper sequence so the seedlings actually sprout at a time of the year when freezing temperatures or hot summer sun doesn’t kill them, takes a tremendous amount of luck.

You can improve the odds by controlling some of these conditions, and shorten the cycle. Once you have picked the seeds and removed the wing just place them in a paper bag and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready for them. You donít want to plant your seeds out in the spring until the danger of frost has past. Here in the north May 15th is a safe bet.

If May 15th is your target date you should count backwards on the calendar 100 days. That will take you to about February 5th if my math is correct. On or about the 100th day prior to your target planting date, take the seeds and place them in a Styrofoam cup or other container that will withstand some hot water. Draw warm to hot water from your kitchen faucet and pour it over the seeds. Most of the seeds will float, just leave them in the water overnight as the water cools down. 24 hours later most of the seeds will have settled to the bottom of the cup.

Drain off the water. Place the seeds in a plastic bag with a mixture of sand and peat or other suitable growing mix. Even light potting soil will work. The peat or soil should be moist, but not soaking wet. Poke some holes in the bag so there is some air circulation, and place the bag in your refrigerator for a period of 100 days.

After 100 days you can plant the seeds outside. If you have timed it correctly, you should be at or close to your target planting date.

To plant the seeds just sow them on top of a bed of well drained topsoil or sterilized potting soil, and cover with approximately 3/8î of soil. Water them thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out completely before watering thoroughly again. If you water them frequently, not only do you stand a chance of the seeds rotting from being too wet, but you will also keep them cool, which will slow down the germination process.

Once they start to germinate provide about 50% shade to keep the sun from burning them. Snow fence suspended about 30î above the bed will provide about 50% shade. Japanese Maples will tolerate some shade so it isn’t too important to transplant them too quickly.†Depending on how close together they are, you might be able to leave them in the same bed for one or two growing seasons. Don’t transplant until they are completely dormant.

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Tree Pruning Tips

Tree Pruning Tips
Tree Pruning Tips

There are two kinds of winter gardening. The first method usually starts in January as the gardening catalogs begin to arrive in the mail. This type of gardening is as easy as sitting in your favorite chair, browsing the catalogs, and either dreaming about what you’re going to do this spring, or actually drawing designs for the gardens you intend to work on.

The second type of winter gardening is to actually get out in the yard and do a little work. Of course if it’s bitter cold, you’d be better off waiting for a good day. Winter is a good time to do some pruning if the temperatures are around 30 degrees or so. I don’t recommend pruning if it’s considerably below freezing because the wood is brittle and will shatter when you make a cut.

One of the advantages of pruning during the winter is that you can see much better what needs to be cut out and what should stay. At least that’s true with deciduous plants. The other advantage is that the plants are dormant, and won’t mind you doing a little work on them.

Ornamental trees should pruned to remove competing branches. Weeping Cherries, Flowering Dogwoods, Flowering Crabapples etc. have a tendency to send branches in many different directions. It is your job to decide how you want the plant to look, and then start pruning to achieve that look.

But first stick your head inside the tree and see what you can eliminate from there. This is like looking under the hood, and when you do you’ll see a lot of small branches that have been starved of sunlight, that certainly don’t add anything to the plant. They are just there, and should be cut out.

Any branch that is growing toward the center of the tree where it will get little sunlight should be cut out. Where there are two branches that are crossing, one of them should be eliminated. Once you get the inside of the plant cleaned up, you can start shaping the outside.

Shaping the outside is actually quite easy. Just picture how you want the plant to look, and picture imaginary lines of the finished outline of the plant. Cut off anything that is outside of these imaginary lines. It is also important to cut the tips of branches that have not yet reached these imaginary lines in order to force the plant to fill out.

For the most part plants have two kinds of growth: Terminal branches and lateral branches. Each branch has one terminal bud at the very end, and many lateral branches along the sides. The terminal buds grow in an outward direction away from the plant. Left uncut they just keep growing in the same direction, and the plant grows tall and very thin. That’s why the trees in the woods are so thin and not very attractive.

When you cut a branch on a plant, the plant sets new buds just below where you cut. When you remove the terminal bud the plant will set multiple buds; this is how you make a plant nice and full. Don’t be afraid to trim your plants, they will be much nicer because of it. The more you trim them, the fuller they become.

Lots of people have a real problem with this. They just can’t bring themselves to prune. Especially when it comes to plants like Japanese Red Maples. It kills them to even think about pruning a plant like this. Just do it! You’ll have a beautiful plant because of it.

Look at the plant objectively. If you see a branch that looks like it’s growing too far in the wrong direction, cut it. If you make a mistake it will grow back. Not pruning is the only mistake you can make. I hope this helps and doesn’t get you in trouble with your significant other. Many a family feud has started over pruning.