October 3, 2023


New Estate

Ask Danny | Ep. 26: When to Plant and When to Prune

5 min read
Today's Homeowner TV host Danny Lipford and ISA certified arborist Billy Allen
On this episode of Ask Danny, arborist Billy Allen gives his skilled tips about planting and pruning. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

On this episode of Ask Danny, arborist Billy Allen gives his skilled tips about planting and pruning.

Billy is an ISA Licensed Arborist, AUFA Licensed City Forester, an ALNLA Licensed Panorama Skilled, and lots of extra.

He’s the proprietor and operator of Top Notch Tree Care, the place he supplies companies equivalent to residential and industrial pruning and/or elimination in addition to consulting companies for pre-construction preservation of timber, illness analysis and therapy, and well being and structural assessments. He additionally supplies plant well being care companies equivalent to tree fertilizing, pesticide software, and soil compaction mitigation. 

Gloved hands planting a tree in soil
Arborists say the perfect time to plant a tree is when it goes into dormancy. (KatarzynaBialasiewicz, Getty Photographs Professional)

When to Plant

What’s the perfect time of the 12 months to plant?

Billy: For the perfect time to plant a tree, the overwhelming majority of the time it’s going to be because the tree goes into dormancy — late fall, early winter. If you’re planting a tree, you’re going to lose quite a lot of roots, so that you need the warmth stress on the plant to be as little as it probably might be. 

The exception could be citrus timber. You wish to plant these after the final frost of the springtime as a result of freeze might be detrimental to them. 

The largest downside I see individuals do when planting has to do with depth. Deeper shouldn’t be higher. Give it some thought this manner: Who vegetation a tree within the forest? The reply is nobody. A seed falls on high of the bottom, natural materials covers it up, and it sprouts.

You need the topmost root of that plant, whether or not it’s a tree or shrub, to be at or simply above grade. In case you have quite a lot of clay within the soil, incorporate one thing into the soil to mitigate that very advantageous materials. You wish to until out three to 4 occasions past the scale of the foundation ball and put together that soil so it’s extra advantageous for the roots to develop out. 

Man pruning shrub/bush with pruning shears
You possibly can prune any time of 12 months so long as you’re doing it accurately. (prathan chorruangsak, Canva)

When to Prune

When’s the perfect time to prune a tree?

Billy: You possibly can prune any time of 12 months so long as you’re doing it accurately. I see quite a lot of incorrect pruning, particularly on crepe myrtles, azaleas and reside oak timber. 

It’s essential to make the cuts on the proper spot and never defoliate the plant greater than what must be achieved in a rising season must be thought-about. If you happen to do this, you may prune 12 months a 12 months. 

If you happen to’re going to do aggressive pruning, like with crepe myrtles, it’s essential to do it through the dormant season. 

With flowering vegetation, there are such a lot of issues it’s a must to contemplate, however there’s a factor known as the Might rule. In case your vegetation are blooming earlier than Might, prune them simply after they bloom. This consists of camellias and azaleas. For vegetation that bloom after Might, prune them through the dormant season. 

After you’ve made your pruning cuts, don’t put sealant on it. The therapeutic course of happens chemically contained in the tree.

It’s really walling off that space of useless tissue and holding that decay confined to that specific space. What you do to the surface has no bearing. 

Dying tree next to green trees against a blue skyline
A tree’s well being can fail for a lot of causes, equivalent to lack of water, nutrient deficiency, pest infestations, and illnesses. (HendrikDB, Getty Photographs)

Tree Well being

How do you guarantee a wholesome tree/shrub? 

Billy: It actually has lots to do with the preliminary institution of the plant, how that plant grows and thrives from the preliminary installment ahead. 

My recommendation as an arborist is to ensure the soil is prepped accurately and observe the spacing pointers. 

What are some causes for a tree’s failing well being? 

Billy: Regarding tree well being, the primary factor I see is root injury, particularly in mature timber. Whether or not it’s compaction, chopping of roots, grade adjustments, or adjustments within the course of the move of water, all of these issues will negatively affect a tree.

Mature timber are lots much less tolerant than smaller timber while you’re speaking about caring for his or her roots. 

How a lot injury can a tree’s root system take earlier than it begins to hurt the tree?

Billy: It’s subjective. Folks ask me on a regular basis “how a lot of those roots can I lose and nonetheless hold the tree?” The reply is, I can’t let you know. 

The best method to clarify it’s to think about a dinner plate. The dinner plate is all the feeder roots of the tree. Then think about a wine glass with a stem. The pedestal of that stem is the structural root plate of the tree. You possibly can lose quite a lot of the dinner plate and the tree remains to be structurally sound.

Healthwise, it will depend on how a lot of the dinner plate you lose as to how the tree will survive transferring ahead, and that could be a very troublesome query to reply.

I counsel having a certified arborist take a look at the tree and provide you with an evaluation as a result of each web site goes to be completely different and each tree goes to be completely different.

My common reply is save as a lot as you may.  

Wildflower bed around an old walnut tree
A flower mattress round a tree is an effective way so as to add a splash of coloration to your yard, however ensure the soil doesn’t smother the tree’s roots. (HoleInTheBucket, Getty Photographs)

Backyard Beds Round Timber

What are your ideas on placing a raised backyard mattress across the trunk of a tree?

Billy: You don’t wish to pile grime up across the tree in any type. There are some tolerance ranges there, relying on what sort of soil you’re working with.

Sand is extra porous so you will get away with extra sand on high of the foundation than you may clay.

It’s all about air infiltration all the way down to the feeder roots. These should have oxygen and in the event you pile a bunch of grime on high, they’ll suffocate after which the tree will decline. 

Preserve the foundation flare (the place the primary primary roots connect to the trunk) uncovered. If you see timber that seem like a pencil approaching out of the bottom, meaning the foundation flare is buried. 

The place to Discover an Arborist

An arborists inspects the foliage on a tree
An arborist might help diagnose any issues {that a} tree might have and supply recommendation on methods to greatest look after it. (welcomia, Canva)

There’s a science behind what we do. With out figuring out how to try this, it’s not possible to realize correct upkeep or well being methods. Go to treesaregood.org to discover a native arborist.

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