Trees add value to your property and are a great investment when improving your landscape. Not only do they add immense beauty, fruit, flowers, shade and more, they also help clean the air that we breathe. Planting trees should be a priority for all communities. Choosing the right tree for your property depends on several different factors.
Luckily, the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute located at Cal Poly in California, has a data base that will help you select the proper tree for your location and your needs. You can search the site by entering your zip code and the attributes of the tree that you want here: ufei.calpoly.edu/index.lasso
Planting Your Tree
Once you have selected the tree that is best for your property, it’s time to plant! Like everything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Following the correct planting steps is important to growing a healthy tree.
First, make sure you select the right location in your yard for your tree. Make sure the tree you are planting has plenty of room and will not outgrow its location. Then determine that the soil in which you are planting is compatible with the tree you have chosen. Also, make sure that your tree will have the right amount of sun and shade that is recommended for your particular type of tree.
Prepare a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball (some landscaping experts recommend a wider hole, up to three times as wide.) A wide hole will insure fast growth of the tree. The depth of the hole should be determined by the height of the root ball. The right depth will prevent settling.
Remove the plastic or wire basket and/or burlap from the root ball.
Add a starter fertilizer and fill around the root ball with the soil you removed for planting.
Deep water the tree, and water each day for seven days; then water twice a week for week two, and once a week afterwards.
Care and Feeding
It is important to know that mulching is very important to the health of your newly planted tree. Mulch acts to retain water, preventing the roots from drying out, and provide protection from the heat and cold. It keeps weeds away from the tree roots and prevents compaction of the soil around the tree. There are different types of mulch available.
For newly planted trees, water right after planting. Not enough water will damage a tree, but over-watering is harmful as well. The proper amount of watering can be determined by feeling the soil around the tree. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Allowing the soil to dry for a short time between waterings, is good for the tree because it allows the soil to oxygenate.
Consider a drip system with smart controller to efficiently water your newly planted tree and landscape, saving water and money. There are rebates available in many counties throughout California to help implement these systems.
After the first two years, the root structure of the tree should be well established and will not need the kind of monitoring that a newly planted tree requires.
Care must be taken when pruning newly planted trees because poor pruning can damage a tree for the rest of its life. The pruning of these young trees should be done to remove remove dead or broken branches. More aggressive pruning should wait until the tree is two to three years old.
Signs of a Healthy Tree
Is There New Growth: If you have had your tree for a year or more, there should be new growth appearing each year.
Check for Dead or Broken Branches: Since dead and broken branches invite insects and make the tree more susceptible to disease, they should be pruned off. Hint: If a branch is green underneath the bark when scraped with your fingernail, it is alive.
Check the Tree’s Bark: The bark should be intact. If it is loose or peeling, there is probably a problem. The truck should not have large cracks or holes and should be free of fungi.
Examine the Leaves: Leaves should be the appropriate color for the season. Wilting of the leaves indicate stress caused by too little or too much watering, or too much or too little sun. Evergreens should not have bare patches without needles, and deciduous trees should be full of leaves in the blooming season. Areas where leaves are missing can indicate damage or disease.
A proper tree care program will allow fluid growth patterns and wind penetration. This will condition your trees for long term healthy development. All of our pruning practices are based upon the International Society of Arboriculture industry standards.
Our Pacific Vista Landscape Service professionals will provide your property with a complete inventory of all trees and organize these trees on a multiple year tree care plan. We will place the trees on an appropriate plan to best suit a given species.
Contact us or call us today! 661-222-7525
It's that time of year when people decorate pine trees. Many opt for a cut tree, but having a live one can be a great option for someone who wants a tree that keeps living and can be brought in year after year.
California has both native pine trees and ones that have come from similar climates like Australia and Asia. All together, there are over a 115 varieties of pine trees!
They are part of the conifer, cone-bearer, family, and are also evergreens, retaining their needles year round. Height wise they can range from a 4ft dwarf Mugo to an over 100 ft white pine. Besides height, pine trees can vary in their shape, needles, texture, and cones. They are easy to care for and can even live indoors.
Pine trees need lots of sunlight and rich, moist soil. If you have one in a pot, rotate it regularly and have it in a sunny spot. Pine trees in pots require more water to make sure it does not dry out. Good drainage is important whether it's in a pot or in the ground.
Can you grow a pine tree from a pine cone seed?
One has to have patience to grow a pine tree from a seed. Growing seeds from pine cones harvested from local pine trees will mean your tree will most likely do well in your climate. Seeds can be gathered from pine cones that are still closed, and if properly stratified, the process of natural or recreated natural conditions to insure germination will occur, a tree can grow!
Take pine cones that have not opened from pine tree in early fall and place in paper bag in warm spot. Shake the bag every few days. When the cone opens, the seeds will drop into the bag.
Place seeds in freezer for 2-3 months to mimic winter.
Thaw out to room temperature and then put in glass bowl with lukewarm water for 1 to 2 days.
Drain and put still moist seeds in ziplock baggie in fridge for 2-3 months
Now they are ready to plant in mixture of 3 parts potting soil, 1 part peat moss, 1 part sand (without salt), and 1 part pine bark. Plant one seed per 4" pot 1/4" deep and make sure there is good drainage.
Do not let soil get dry or be too wet. Replant when seedlings are 8 to 12" tall.
Sometimes a pine cone can sprout seedlings (pictured above) from seeds that did not fully release. If you happen to find one, plant in half dirt (do not cover pine cone fully), it might make it into a tree!
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from all of us at Pacific Vista Landscape Services!
Change can be good! Many people in Southern California are have a hard time giving up their lawn and going natural with native trees and plants. This can not only save water and money, the native landscape is more interesting and varied. It also takes less care overall and less water once the roots are established.
It takes a multi-pronged approach to maximize water utilization and conservation with landscaping. Removing turf grass is one of the most water conscious adjustments a property owner can make to reduce their water usage. Also, there are rebates available to help mitigate the cost, and the new landscape will save you water and money going forward.
Converting irrigation systems to drip, hand-watering or installing water efficient micro-spray systems or rotating nozzles ensures that landscape watering is as efficient as possible.
Finally, the addition of a sustainable approach in the new landscape works to reduce or prevent wasteful runoff through the use of a rainwater capture or filtration system.
There are many great native trees and plants that do well in our climate. Here are some good contenders from BeWaterWise.com for your native garden.
Are you ready to switch to a native garden? Contact us! At Pacific Vista Landscape Service, we can help you through the rebate process and are experts in all the essential elements, from turf removal to smart irrigation systems, it takes to create an efficient native garden.