While it may be hard to believe, spring is on its way. Here are five tips to help you prepare your lawn and shrubbery for the growing season ahead.
When doing tree pruning work, making an extra undercut with your pruning saw will help keep the bark below heavier branches from stripping down and marring the trunk. Make the undercut from below the branch, about 4 to 6 inches out from the trunk. Then cut from the top of the branch, just outside the lower cut. Lastly, use the saw to make a final cut close to the terminal base.
Water new shrubs once a week the first summer with 5 to 10 gallons of water for each depending on the size of the bush. Take care to get the water under any mulch, which absorbs a great deal of moisture and robs the soil below. Pour water right down the stems so it goes into the root ball, and does not run off on the ground. During very hot sunny days, spray the tops and water lightly in addition to the weekly deep watering. Do not fertilize the first year, except possibly for half strength liquid fertilizer at planting time, or plant rooting hormone additives one can use. Fertilize normally the second year in the spring.
Water new trees once a week, regularly, during the first season, with 10 gallons of water. More for large trees. Pour the water down the trunks so it goes into the root ball, not along the top of the ground. In addition, whenever the leaves droop down or it is very hot, water again and mist the tops with the hose. Do not fertilize the first year except for shrubs.
Chain saws are available in both gas and electric power models. They provide the fastest and most efficient way to transform a downed tree into a compact pile of firewood.
Shrubs and hedges can be trimmed monthly during the growing season. By trimming them back they'll grow more slowly. The slower a shrub grows the thicker and better it will look.
Make sure you wear proper safety gear and make three simple cuts. Make your first cut at a slight angle, no more than two-thirds into the tree. Make a second cut to form a wedge. Then make a final cut on the opposite side, cutting into the wedge from above. Cut carefully, watch for the wind, and the tree will fall safely away from you.
Trees that lose their leaves in the fall (i.e., deciduous) are the most effective at reducing heating and cooling energy costs. When selectively placed around a house, they provide excellent protection from the summer sun but permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your house. The height, growth rate, branch spread, and shape are all factors to consider in choosing a tree.
Deflect winter winds by planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides of your house; deflect summer winds by planting on the south and west sides of your house.
Pruning cuts should be made so that only branch tissue is removed and stem tissue is not damaged. At the point where the branch attaches to the stem, branch and stem tissues remain separate, but are contiguous. If only branch tissues are cut when pruning, the stem tissues of the tree will probably not become decayed, and the wound will seal more effectively.