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                                             Studies:  Trees Add Value to Property

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Care of Your Trees

[Please "Bookmark" this page for future reference]

 

 

    Please pick a topic from the list below or simply scroll down the page:

 

My Trees Were Just Planted; What Do I Do Now?

Watering Your Trees

Fertilizer

Pruning

Newly-Planted Trees' Appearance

 

Tree-Specific Comments

Emerald Green Arborvitae--Yearly Maintenance

Cedar Trees--Yearly Maintenance

Thundercloud Plum--Yearly Maintenance

Winter "Bronzing" and Interior Branch Die-Back of Cedar Trees

Thundercloud Plums

Laurel

Glossary & Other Information

 

 

My Trees Were Just Planted; What Do I Do Now?

     Thank you for purchasing trees from NurseryTrees.com.   During the first year or two your newly-planted trees are going to require some special attention from you so that they do well.  We are here to support you, and if you don't find the answer to your questions on our website, please don't hesitate to contact us.

        So, to begin, please take the following steps:

                    1.  "Bookmark" this "Care of Your Trees" section so that you can return to it easily.

                    2.  The most important thing for you to worry about now is Watering.  90% of all problems with newly-planted trees are because the homeowner didn't water them.  Don't be one of "those".  There are specific instructions for Watering below.

                    3.  Use your "Starter Kit" if one was provided to you (see below).

                    4.  Read this entire "Care of Your Trees section--you'll find general comments about watering, fertilizing, and what to expect from your trees; and then specific care instructions for Arborvitae, Cedar and other trees that we sell. 

Watering  

        Proper watering of your new trees is very important, particularly during the first year after they are planted.   Stated another way, most problems with new trees are water-related.  If you pay attention to your trees and follow these directions, you should be fine. 

First Watering After Planting:    It is a good idea to "water in" newly-planted trees.  This means to saturate the ground in order to fill in spaces in the soil.  So the first time you water the trees--usually using the watering system we have provided you with--leave the water on a good long time to accomplish this.  The only reason you wouldn't want to do this is if freezing weather is expected, in which case you should wait until more moderate weather is present.

Normal Watering:  The basic goal of watering is to prevent the roots of your trees from drying out.  How quickly this can happen depends on the characteristics of your soil, how much rain there has been recently, other vegetation in the area, and what tree is involved.  Watering is less of a concern from November-March when the tree is dormant and the weather wet, and a major concern whenever we have a run of hot, dry days which usually occurs when the tree is growing.  If you wait for brown branches to appear, if may be too late.  So stay on top of this, please.  Note that some trees are so thick and bushy--such as Emerald Green Arborvitae--that even if it rains the tree may not get enough water on the rootball where the water is needed--as the tree establishes itself and pushes roots out beyond the "drip-line", this becomes less of a concern. 

What you should do is feel down with your fingers a couple of inches in the dirt beside the rootball of the new tree(s).  If the dirt is moist down 2-3 inches, then you are in good shape; if it is dry, then you need to water more.  Note that sometimes the branches of a full tree, such as an Arborvitae, will prevent rain water from reaching the soil around the rootball so you may need to water even if it has been raining lightly.  How long you need to leave your watering system on to achieve this soil moisture will depend on how well your soil retains water and your water pressure, so there is no hard-and-fast rule.  You need to leave your system on long enough to moisten the soil down 2-3 inches as described.  Once you've worked with your system a little bit the necessary time will become clear.  Usually the watering time is about 30-45 minutes to accomplish this, but everyone's soil is different.

Check Your Irrigation System:    It is important to periodically check that your irrigation system is working properly.  Sprayers can become clogged, animals can move hoses, grass can grow up and block a spray, and your pressure can change in hot weather.  So simply walk along your watering system and check that it is working.  Adjust as necessary.  We use two basic watering systems:

    1.  Sprayers (blue):  These can become blocked but can easily be fixed--simply pull the blue sprayer out of the small tube and re-insert.  Sometimes animals can disrupt the sprayers, so walk along your line and check that everything is working.

    2.  Soaker Hoses:  Soaker hoses can be moved out of place by animals.  In uneven terrain they also can dip down so that most of the water is not going where you want it to.  Sometimes water pressure can also affect performance.   Simply walk along your line to be sure it is working properly.

    Note that we sell both of these systems separately in the Easy Watering Solutions section of this website.  That section also has information about how the water systems work.

How Long Do I Need to Irrigate?   When a tree is dug and "balled & burlapped" for sale, naturally some of its roots are cut.  Until it can establish new roots in its new location, the tree must have enough water to survive "delivered" to its burlap root ball.  Some trees, such as Emerald Green Arborvitae, are so thick that even rain won't reach the rootball.  Once the tree has been planted at your house it starts to push new roots out into the soil.  How quickly the new roots are established depends on a number of factors.  Basically, all trees need to be watered well during the first year after planting.  In the second year, you should still check to be sure the tree is receiving enough water, particularly during hot weather.  This is particularly true if your tree is under other, larger trees or structures that may prevent it from receiving rain water.  When you are comfortable that your tree is fully-established--usually but not always after the second year--you can remove the watering system we installed.  

Fertilizer  

        We recommend that you don't fertilize your tree right away, so as to give it time to establish itself in its natural environment.  After a few weeks/months, particularly in the spring, you can use some gentle fertilizer—MiracleGro or natural fish fertilizer, for instance, which you can obtain at your local garden store.  

        Some trees can start to have a yellow look if they aren't receiving enough nitrogen or iron.  There are other reasons for yellowing--too much or too little water; but lack of proper nutrients may also be involved.  Ask for some high-nitrogen/high-iron fertilizer at your local garden store.

Pruning

    Pruning is a matter of personal taste.  Some people like a full, bushy tree from the ground up; some like to see the trunk.  Pruning can also depend on the tree—with the beautiful white-barked Jacquemontii Birch, most people like to prune the lower branches so that a lot of the trunk shows.  Simply use garden shears to cut off the branches as close to the trunk as possible.  The best time to prune is when the tree is dormant in the winter, but light pruning can take place anytime.

 

 Newly-Planted Trees' Appearance

     Like people, trees don't like to be uprooted and moved around.  It stresses the tree's systems and causes minor damage, often making the trees not look as good as they will once they are established.  Some examples: 

Evergreen Trees:  When trees such as Arborvitae, Cedar, and  Douglas Fir are moved and planted, it is inevitable that some small branches will be damaged or broken.  This damage, which is usually around the bottom of the tree,  can take several weeks to show up as brown branches.  Also, because evergreens have so much surface area, if the tree's systems are stressed it can show up as browning or yellowing, again often in the lower areas of the trees.  This is often disturbing to the homeowner but it is usually nothing to worry about.  If you wish you can prune off the broken branches, or just leave them and they will fall off on their own.  New growth will replace the damaged branches.

Deciduous trees:  The stress of planting may cause leaves to be smaller and some flowering seasons can be missed.  Here again, some small branches can be broken, which will turn brown over a few weeks.   Usually, all of this corrects itself by the next growing season.

        So it is good to keep an eye on your trees and note any changes, but don't be overly concerned.  And we are here to help if you have questions.

 

Some Tree-Specific Comments

Emerald Green Arborvitae Yearly Maintenance

    Besides watering (which is the most important), you should consider two "maintenance" items for your Emerald Green Arborvitae:

1.  Clean out dead branches:  

    Each Fall, all cedars including Arborvitae experience die-back in their interior branches.   This causes the accumulation of small dead branches and material inside the tree.  Each year you should go along your row of trees and clean out the dead material--you can just pull it out with your hands, or some people spray it out with a hose and nozzle.

2.  Spider Mites:--To Spray or Not To Spray:   

    Spider mites are present in the Pacific Northwest , and they can infest Emerald Green Arborvitae.  In the worst case they can kill the trees, particularly if the trees are unhealthy for another reason such as lack of watering.  Spider mites usually appear during the dry time of year.

    The great majority of Emerald Green Arborvitae plantings will not have a problem—an Arborist we work with estimates that only 5% of unsprayed Arborvitae will develop an infestation.  Spider mites can be controlled with preventative spraying (as we do twice a year at the nursery) or after a spider mite infestation has been discovered if you catch it early enough.   

    As a preventative measure, you can spray your trees with a Horticultural Oil during the trees' dormant season--roughly November-April.  This is very effective at preventing problems, and the horticultural oils are very safe.  Try to spray all surfaces of the tree.   If you are spraying because you know you have spider mites, or at a later time, spray with a "miticide" that you can buy at Home Depot, Lowes.  Be sure you buy a "miticide" and not just an insecticide.

    The first sign of spider mites is usually some browning of the branches, often in the lower part of the tree.  (note that newly-planted trees can have this appearance as the result of small broken branches during planting, and not spider mites).  To test for spider mites: on a dry day put a piece of white paper under some Arborvitae branches and shake vigorously.  You’ll likely get a bunch of “stuff”—dried twigs, small green branches, specks of things, and some bugs.  The bugs that are bigger and move quickly are not a problem—the spider mites are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence and they move very slowly.  You can see them better if you look at them under a magnifying glass.  

3.  Check Your Irrigation System:    It is important to periodically check that your irrigation system is working properly.  Animals can move hoses and your pressure can change in hot weather.  So simply walk along your watering system and check that it is working.  Adjust as necessary.

 

Excelsa & Virescens Cedar Yearly Maintenance

    These trees tend to accumulate small dead branches and material inside the tree.  Each year you should go along your row of trees and clean out the dead material--you can just pull it out with your hands, or some people spray it out with a hose and nozzle.

     Spider mites can, in rare cases, affect cedar trees.  If you notice that your tree isn't looking too healthy, please see the discussion of spider mites in the previous section.  See also the next section.

    Check Your Irrigation System:    It is important to periodically check that your irrigation system is working properly.  Sprayers can become clogged, animals can move hoses, grass can grow up and block a spray, and your pressure can change in hot weather.  So simply walk along your watering system and check that it is working.  Adjust as necessary.

 

Winter "Bronzing" & Brown Interior Branches of Excelsa Cedar and other Cedar  

        Many cedar trees, particularly newly-planted ones,  will turn a somewhat bronze color on top in the Fall and during cold weather.   At roughly this same time it is also common to have die-back in some interior branches (see photos below).    Both of these characteristics can cause concern to new tree owners--but don't worry, the largest cedar trees in the forest do this and now that you know about it you will notice it on cedars in your neighborhood.  As to the die-back, if you wish you can clean-out the dead materials by hand or with a hose, or just leave it and they will naturally fall off; to be replaced by healthy new green foliage in the Spring.  

  

Fall interior "flagging" on excelsa cedar for sale at our nursery (left) and a mature Western Red Cedar at the back of our property (right). 

You will see this on many cedars and it is nothing to worry about.

 

Thundercloud Plum  

    These really-beautiful trees, like most fruit trees, have somewhat of a susceptibility to insects.  We like to spray our Thundercloud Plums each Spring to avoid this.  You can purchase an insecticide at your local garden center and an inexpensive sprayer at a hardware store.. 

 

English Laurel

    English Laurel doesn't like to be moved or transplanted.  It is very common for newly-planted Laurel to drop leaves and generally not look to good after it has been installed.  This is natural and, as long as you are watering correctly, new growth will replace the fallen leaves.

    Laurel can turn yellow if it isn't receiving enough nitrogen or iron.  If you think this is happening, apply some high-nitrogen/high-iron fertilizer from your local garden store.

 

Contact Us

     We are here to help.  If you have questions please don't hesitate to contact us:

info@NurseryTrees.com         (425) 343-2650

 

Patience

    We all like instant results, but trees teach us to be patient.  

 

 

NurseryTrees.com LLC, Nurseries - Plants, Trees, Snohomish, WA

 

                                        

Angie's List Super Service Award in Tree Service in Seattle

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Serving Washington State Since 1995

13510 Old Snohomish-Monroe Road

Snohomish, WA  98290

(425) 343-2650

(425) 953-5780 fax

info@nurserytrees.com

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