So, you decided to plant a new tree. Congratulations! This is the start of a beautiful landscape that will increase the aesthetics and value of your property.
But before you start mapping your dream garden, it’s important to know what kind of tree you should plant. This depends on the environment you’re planting in. Remember, every tree has different requirements, so it should be planted in an area that meets those needs.
Your climate isn’t the only factor, though. The characteristics of your property matter as well. From existing greenery to nearby pipes, there are many environmental aspects to consider.
Before buying a tree or digging a hole, take the time to do some research. By learning how to choose the best tree for your area, you can ensure it will thrive for years to come. Here are several factors to consider.
As you know, North America is a continent of extremely different climates. Therefore, in order to help folks choose the appropriate trees for their area, the USDA created The Plant Hardiness Zones.
Each zone represents an area in the United States or Canada. The zones are divided based on an area’s lowers annual average temperature. In each zone, there are specific trees that can endure the winters in that area.
Before buying and planting a new tree, find your plant hardiness zone. There are 11 zones in total. All you need to do is visit a hardiness zone map and enter your zip code.
When it comes to moisture, every type of tree has different needs. Some trees require constantly wet soil, while others prefer a dry environment. As a result, it’s vital to consider your area’s natural rain patterns throughout the year.
Be sure to acknowledge nearby bodies of water, too. Ponds, for example, will affect the level of moisture in the surrounding soil.
From clay to sand, soil isn’t a one-size-fits-all component. Every soil has different biological, chemical, and physical characteristics, so you must choose the appropriate trees for your soil type.
Granted, things like pH and draining can be altered with various substances. For instance, you can improve soil drainage by adding organic matter like compost. But for optimal results, it’s wise to pick the most appropriate plants for your property’s soil.
Every property is unique, regardless of climate or state. So, be sure to acknowledge the different aspects of your land.
Think about your available space and nearby trees, shrubs, or plants. Over time, the tree’s root system will attempt to establish itself, so it’s essential to provide enough space for both new and existing plants. This will ensure that they don’t have to compete for water and nutrients.
Before choosing a tree, consider any existing underground pipes and power lines. Don’t forget about your driveway, sidewalk, and neighbors. Lastly, check any local ordinances and rules as to how far a tree must be planted from the street.
With these environmental aspects in mind, you can determine if you should get a small, medium, or large tree. You’ll also be able to figure out what kind of canopy and foliage will work well with the area.
We’re Here to Help You Choose the Best Trees for Your Property
If you’re not sure what kind of tree you should plant, consult the professionals at Friendly Tree. Since 1989, we’ve offered tree planting services throughout northern New Jersey. We’ll take the time to choose the best species for your property and needs.
This way, you don’t have to worry about all the details on this list. Leave it up to us! Our team of professional arborists knows exactly what to look for.
It’s no secret that planting trees has many benefits. For starters, trees are beautiful; they can improve the appearance and value of your property. Trees also produce oxygen, clean the air, control noise, and enhance mental wellness. And with strategic planning, trees can even reduce energy bills by offering shade in the summer and blocking wind in the winter. (Oh, and did we mention they’re beautiful?)
You can’t go wrong with tree planting in New Jersey. In fact, you might have already added several trees to your property. But have you thought about proper care and maintenance?
Compared to older trees, newly planted trees have different needs. So, if you just planted a new tree, keep the following tips in mind. By doing so, you can help it flourish for years to come.
Mind the Mulch
When done properly, mulching prevents soil compaction, maintains root moisture, and insulates soil. Mulch also benefits the appearance of your landscape.
Yet, mulching isn’t as simple as making a pile and calling it a day. Piling mulch around the trunk will suffocate the bark and roots. This “mulch volcano” can also promote fungal and bacterial growth, and eventually, kill your new tree.
That’s why it’s vital to mulch your trees correctly. First, the mulch should be applied away from the trunk and spread to a diameter of at least the three feet. You can use a rake to evenly spread it out. Additionally, the mulch should be no more than 3 to 4 inches deep.
Avoid Over Fertilizing
Unlike soil in the wild, soil in landscaped settings don’t contain enough essential nutrients and minerals. Therefore, fertilizing your trees is one of the best things you can do. Fertilizer contains vital nutrients that can support the growth and vitality of your tree.
However, it’s possible to over fertilize a tree. Doing so can strain a tree and disrupt its ability to absorb water.
Plus, if a new tree was properly planted, it won’t require much during the first two years. A newly planted tree requires nothing more than organic matter, water, sun, and mulch.
It’s advised to wait two years before using fertilizer. This will allow enough time for the root system to establish itself. Otherwise, if you add too much fertilizer too soon, the new tree will overproduce and become stressed.
Watch the Water
We all know trees need water to survive. And when you plant a new tree, you may be tempted to overdo it. But like mulch and fertilizer, using too much water can cause health issues.
Overwatering deprives the roots of oxygen. In turn, the roots won’t be able to supply enough nutrients to the tree. Overwatering also encourages the growth of harmful organisms, which can eventually lead to root rot.
To care for a newly planted tree, you need to keep the soil moist — not wet. All it takes is 30 seconds of a steady stream of water for each tree. For best results, use a garden hose with a diffuser nozzle attachment.
The root system will establish itself within the first two years. At this point, it will be able to handle more water.
Know the Tree’s Needs
New tree care isn’t limited to regular food and water. It’s crucial to think about your future plans, too.
Be mindful of the quantity and types of plants in each bed. Remember, every plant needs water, nutrients, and space to grow. But when there are multiple trees and shrubs in one bed, they will all compete with each other.
Do your research or consult an expert. By choosing a thoughtful combination of plants, you can ensure that every member of the bed will survive and thrive.
Call Friendly Tree for Professional Help
If you planted a tree and need assistance, contact Friendly Tree. We’re happy to take care of mulching and answer all your questions about trees.
Friendly Tree also offers tree planting services in New Jersey. We’ll choose the best specimens for your property, style, and preference. Most importantly, our team will plant your trees in a way that sets them up for long-term success.
To schedule a consultation or get a quote, contact Friendly Tree at (973) 678-8888.
The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, the days are already getting shorter and that means it’s time to prepare your yard for winter.
Freezing temperatures and winter storms can really do a number on your landscape, if it is not properly put to bed. So, while the trees are doing their part – shedding their leaves to conserve energy for the months ahead – take some time to do yours.
First, Clean Up the Yard
It can be tempting to stay inside where it’s warm, and just hope the leaves will all blow away. But allowing debris to build up on your yard can attract pests and fungal diseases, and prevent proper water absorption and drainage. Similarly, fallen fruit that is allowed to rot over the winter is asking for trouble.
Rake leaves, harvest fruit, pick up fallen branches and remove dead annuals from your yard. Mowing your yard one last time – with the blades on the lowest setting – is also a good idea. A clean, open landscape is less attractive to insects and diseases than one that is full of decaying debris.
Tidy Trees and Shrubs
Winter storms and weak or dying branches is a bad combination. Now is the time to take care of limbs that are hanging, look weak, are infested or dying, as well as give your trees and shrubs an all-over cleanup. A healthy tree is less likely to be damaged in a winter storm.
Remember to wait until after trees have gone dormant to prune them, and always consult a professional if you see anything worrisome, or don’t know how to properly prune.
Don’t Forget to Water
Just because the hoses are detached doesn’t mean your watering days are over until the summer. Trees and plants still need to be watered during dry spells throughout the fall and winter, and your lawn does, too. Even dormant plants need water to survive. Now is also the perfect time to add compost or fertilizer to feed your trees throughout the winter.
Protect Them With Mulch
Think of mulch like a blanket for your trees. A layer of organic mulch about two to three inches deep helps insulate trees from harsh temperatures and retain moisture in the soil. Just be sure not to mulch too deep, and always keep it away from the tree’s trunk.
While the bugs are winding down for the season, once spring hits the larvae will be back in full swing. Applying horticultural oils now will help prevent the larvae of common pests like aphids, mites and scale insects from hatching when temperatures rise.
Horticultural oils can usually be found at your local garden center and are relatively inexpensive and easy to apply. Properly removing leaves, dead branches and fallen fruit is also critical to preventing pests from taking over.
When to Winterize
Winterizing your yard should happen around the same time you would winterize your house or vehicle; in New Jersey, that’s usually in October or early November.
Fall is the perfect time to plant new trees and shrubs. Planting now gives them time to develop a strong root system before the heat of summer hits. So before you put your yard to bed for the season, add some new life, and be rewarded in the spring.
Investing the time now to winterize your yard will mean less troubleshooting in the warmer months. Trees that are properly cared for react better to stress and generally have fewer problems the following season.
Are your trees looking not quite right? They may be crying out for help. The urban environment can take its toll on tree health, causing early tree decline and death.
Lucky for us, trees express themselves in different ways, giving us clues to what’s troubling them. It helps to know how your tree is communicating by recognizing some of the common signs of tree stress.
Take a few minutes to observe the trees on your property for red flags, starting at the top:
Take a look at the tree’s canopy. Does it look sparse compared to nearby trees, or compared to previous years? Are there dangling branches? These are signs your tree needs some help.
You can tell a lot about the health of a tree by looking at its leaves. Wilting, yellowing, brown, misshapen, curling, spotted or dropping leaves mean your tree is struggling.
Large, open wounds, splits, and cracks can all point to something going on internally with your tree. Also be on the lookout for exit holes from bark beetles and borers.
Mushrooms that repeatedly appear at the base of a tree point to a problem underground, usually root rot.
The best way to prevent stress from taking its toll on your trees is to give them what they need throughout the year. Here’s how to keep your trees healthy and resistant to many of the above problems.
Water Consistently and Deeply
One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to caring for their trees is overwatering. It sounds hard to do, but it happens often. Too much water can lead to root rot and fungal issues; too little water causes dehydration and makes trees more susceptible to pests and diseases. Trees like their water slow and deep. Watering deeply at the drip line whenever the soil is dry is the best way to keep your trees happy.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – mulch is a tree’s best friend! Mulch provides numerous benefits and is a simple way to help prevent many stressors.
Prune the Right Way
Although pruning is usually done with the best of intentions, it is often done incorrectly. Pruning the wrong way can do more damage than good. In fact, incorrect pruning is one of the major causes of insect and pest problems in trees. When in doubt, contact your local tree service professionals for advice on where and how much to prune.
Know How to Plant
It may seem simple, but the way you plant a young tree can really be a deal-breaker. Never dig the planting hole deeper than the height of the tree’s root ball, and always dig the hole two to three times wider than the root ball. These simple steps will help prevent your tree from getting unnecessarily stressed down the road.
Consult a Professional
What happens if your tree is already showing signs of stress? Is it too late? If you’re noticing warning signs, now is the time to give us a call.
Many problems can be corrected with proper treatment and care. At Friendly Tree, our inspections and assessments are always free. We pride ourselves on providing expert, reliable service, taking the utmost care of our customers and their trees.
If you’ve ever dug into the forest floor, you’ve probably observed that the soil looks quite different than the dirt in your backyard.
That’s partly due to the large amounts of organic matter on the surface, and partly because the plentiful organisms in the soil break down that organic matter and incorporate it back into the soil.
Trees growing in the forest thrive without fertilizer because the rich soil gives them all the nutrients they need.
Trees growing in their natural habitats rarely have nutrient deficiencies. In urban settings, however, this is not the case.
Soils in artificial habitats can be very different than native habitats, and they are often lacking in essential nutrients.
If you haven’t fed your trees this year, they may be hungry! Applying fertilizer at least once a year is usually necessary to replenish essential minerals and nutrients in the soil.
When to Fertilize
Although you can’t see them, a tree’s roots continue to take in nutrients well after it sheds its leaves for the year.
A good rule of thumb is to feed your trees in the fall, before it freezes. This way the fertilizer will be absorbed by the roots and ready to feed the tree once it begins to come out of dormancy in the spring. Nutrients at-the-ready allow for robust new growth as leaves emerge.
If fertilizing in the fall is not possible, you can also feed your trees in early spring, as soon as the ground thaws.
Types of Fertilizer
There are many different types of fertilizer; the type you use will depend on your trees, your landscape, and soil conditions.
Granular Fertilizer is applied at the soil’s surface either by hand or by the mechanical spreader. This is often the method of choice for homeowners because it is fast, easy, inexpensive and quite effective. This method is particularly beneficial for trees growing in mulched areas and lawns.
Liquid Injection Fertilizer involves high-pressure injection of liquid fertilizer, allowing for rapid uptake of nutrients, and is often the preferred method of professional arborists.
Fertilizer Spikes or stakes are less common today, as they have shown limited effectiveness. With this method, solid spikes of fertilizer are driven into the soil around trees at measured distances.
Foliar Spray is commonly used as a quick fix for nutrient deficiencies. With foliar feeding, liquid fertilizer is sprayed directly onto the tree’s leaves. Foliar fertilization is a helpful supplemental fertilizer, adding micronutrients just before the growth period, but it is not effective as the only source of fertilizer.
Tree Trunk Injections are primarily used to treat specific mineral deficiencies, such as iron or zinc deficiencies, and are not recommended as general, multi-purpose fertilizer.
What do the Numbers Mean?
On just about every bag of fertilizer, you’ll find, you will see three numbers. The first number indicates the percentage of nitrogen; the second number indicates the percentage of phosphorus, and the third number indicates the percentage of potassium.
These numbers are important because different plants need different ratios of these elements to stay healthy. Research has shown that high nitrogen fertilizers yield the greatest growth in woody plants, such as trees and shrubs.
Pay attention to the ratios, not just the numbers. Look for a high-nitrogen fertilizer with ratios of 3-1-1, 3-1-2 or 4-1-1. For example, an 8-2-2 fertilizer follows the 4-1-1 ratio.
Ask your local arborist or nursery for the best combination for your soil and region.
Slow-release nitrogen fertilizers are best for long-term growth because they allow for nutrient absorption throughout the season, and therefore more uniform growth.
Be careful to avoid lawn fertilizers containing herbicides, which can damage or even kill your trees.
When it comes to tree health, preventive maintenance is key. A vigorous and healthy tree is much less susceptible to disease and infestation.
With proper maintenance, your trees can add value to the landscape and stay healthy for a long time.
We all know that trees need water to survive, but many homeowners don’t know that watering properly can mean the difference between a tree’s life and death during seasons of drought.
Summer’s heat can take its toll even on established trees. Since trees are difficult and expensive to remove, it’s important to know when your trees are stressed, and how to manage it.
Signs of Heat Stress
Trees are amazingly resourceful and some can survive for a long time in poor conditions with little water. A tree can be suffering silently for years before it finally succumbs.
If your tree shows any of these signs, it may be crying out for help:
- Wilting Leaves
- Premature Leaf Drop
- Yellowing Leaves or Early Fall Foliage
- Sparse Canopy
- Undersized Leaves or Fruit
Trees that are stressed are much more likely to be attacked by insects and diseases, so it’s not uncommon for trees with one of the above symptoms to also be infested.
Caring for Trees During Drought
Follow these tips to keep your trees happy, even when water is scarce:
Mulch truly is a tree’s best friend. Not only does mulch reduce evaporation and retain soil moisture, but it also helps regulate soil temperature. Mulch can be a lifesaver in the heat of a summer day, when evaporation is at its peak and the soil dries out more quickly than roots can take in the moisture.
Check the Soil
The best way to tell if your trees need water is simply by testing the soil. Insert a garden trowel about 2 inches into the soil and feel it; if the soil is dry, your tree needs water. Keep in mind, you want the soil to be moist to the touch, not soggy.
Water Slow and Deep
The most important aspect of watering your trees isn’t how much water to give them, it is how to water them. Trees like to be watered slow and deep. Remember, tree roots can extend up to four times beyond the canopy, so don’t just water at the base of the tree.
A drip irrigation system placed beyond the canopy line will allow the tree’s critical root zone to take up water before it’s lost to evaporation. Water to a depth of 10-12 inches, since approximately 90% of a tree’s roots are found within the top 12 inches of soil.
Fertilizing year round will make for stronger, healthier trees that will be tough enough to better withstand periods of drought.
Did you know — during the heat of a summer day, up to 60% of water evaporates before it soaks into the ground? Knowing how to minimize water loss from evaporation is especially critical during times of drought when watering is often restricted and every drop counts. Using a drip line and watering first thing in the morning are effective ways to manage evaporation.
Water Throughout the Year
Trees that are taken care of throughout the year are more resilient when adversity comes. Watering your trees in the winter, as well as the summer, helps them develop strong root systems and encourages healthy growth.
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