PRFCT Tips

Tagged with "Trees and shrubs"

Privet hedge

Sprinkling Your Hedges?

July 29, 2016

How much water do your privet hedges need this summer? Not much!

If your privet was planted over two years ago, let it be. Well-established trees and shrubs in good soil, including privets, do not need any irrigation.

Newly planted privets—less than two years in the ground—should only be watered at the base. Spraying the leaves is the principle cause of scale disease that will kill your privet. See our drip hoses tip for more info on where to place hoses and when to remove them.

Drip irrigation

Got new trees and shrubs? Drip irrigation can be an effective way to keep them well-hydrated this summer, but keep in mind the following before you put down those hoses:

  • Place drip tubes beyond the root ball, as well as on it, to encourage roots to grow into the surrounding soil.
  • Water newly planted trees and shrubs seldom (less often than your lawn) and deep (12-18"). Too much watering encourages excess growth, a magnet for fungus diseases and sucking insects.
  • Remove tubes after two years. Your plants will be well-established and just won't need the irrigation anymore.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

tree volcano

What are those mountains of mulch you see popping up around trees this time of year? At Perfect Earth, we call them “tree volcanoes” and they are as destructive as the name implies.

Overmulching may not kill a tree as quickly as Vesuvius, but it can do serious harm to the tree over time. Just as we discussed in last week’s PEP Tip, placing material against the tree’s trunk can cause the bark to rot and leave the tree susceptible to infection. Adding too much mulch on top of the roots can encourage roots to grow upwards or around the trunk in search of oxygen, eventually strangling the tree.

Create mulch rings around your trees, not volcanoes.

In general, mulch can be good for your trees—it can help insulate the soil, prevent weeds from sprouting, and keep lawnmowers and weed wackers from damaging your tree. But a ring that is 1 inch deep is all you need. And remember: Keep it away from the trunk.

root flare mature tree

Many of you will be celebrating Arbor Day this week by planting trees in your yards, parks, or elsewhere in your community. We could not be happier! But before you pick up your shovel, please take a moment to locate the root flare of the tree you are planting.

“What’s the root flare?,” you may ask.

The root flare is where the roots of the tree begin to spread out from the trunk. You should be able to locate this flare even in young trees in nursery containers, but you may have to brush away some soil to find it.

Once you find it, do not bury the root flare when planting the tree.

Why? Covering the flare will bury and destroy bark that the tree relies on for oxygen and protection from diseases. And roots that are buried too deeply often grow upward in search of the proper mixture of water, nutrients, and oxygen. Roots growing in the wrong direction can eventually wrap around the tree, strangling the trunk as it grows.

Show your trees how much you love them this Arbor Day. Plant them properly and you'll be enjoying their company for decades to come.

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