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
When working on your landscape and garden areas, an important concept to consider is mulching. There are many benefits to mulching! Number one is water conservation and it can add a fresh, finished look to your landscape. So here is some basic information of the types of mulch, the benefits of mulching, and some how-to’s.
Types of Mulch
There are two basic types of mulch; organic and inorganic. Organic mulch is comprised of natural materials that will break down over time and add nutrients to the soil. Inorganic mulch is made up of material (like rock) that won’t decompose.
Organic mulch comes in many forms like grass clippings or wood chips from tree bark, or even shredded redwood, and each has consideration of where they might best work for your landscape.
Grass clippings are great when you have a lawn, they can be used in vegetable gardens or under bushes but be sure not to use any clippings treated with herbicides or pesticides.
Woodchips are great for water conservation, preventing soil erosion, and weed control.
Cocoa mulch is an interesting and unusual option, it should applied in a thinner layer and is beautiful with a rich dark color. Bonus, it has a chocolatey smell that lasts 2-3 weeks. The downside, cocoa mulch is pricier but it does last longer as you use less. (Note: cocoa mulch does contain theobromine and caffeine, ingredients that harm dogs. If a 50-pound dog swallows 5.3 ounces, seizures can occur; 9 ounces can cause death).
Straw is a great option, especially for vegetable gardens. If you choose this option, be sure to ask for clean, weed-free straw and if you are able, take the time to treat the straw before laying it down as straw can contain viable seeds.
Chopped leaves, a handy option in the fall as they are a readily available source, but be sure to chop them up with a lawnmower fitted with a grass catcher first. Otherwise, the leaves might become matted. Wet leaves after applying them to keep them from blowing away.
Inorganic mulch is often available in forms like rock, lava rock, stone, and even recycled tires.
Recycled tire is a great option when planning to mulch around play areas for kids and comes in bright fun colors like red and orange. This material seems to have an impact absorption which also adds a little bit of safety to the landscaping as well.
Lava Rock is lighter weight than traditional stone and it has a lovely finished quality to nice areas. It might cost a bit more for the initial investment, but that will pay off as lava rock lasts forever. A couple notes: be sure to place in an area that doesn’t require much gardening maintenance as the edges are sharp. Also, be sure of where you put it, once lava rock is down, it is difficult to move.
Stone is commonly used in xeriscape gardening. It is handy as it absorbs heat during the day and release it to the plants at night. This also lasts longer and you can do with a thinner layer to cover the ground. However, the heat absorption bonus can cause faster water evaporation from soil and is most frequently with dark-colored stones.
There are many great reasons to use mulch in your garden or landscaping. To name a few mulching:
Protects soil from erosion
Reduces compaction from the impact of heavy rains
Conserves moisture, reducing the need for frequent watering
Maintains a more even soil temperature
Keeps fruits and vegetables clean
Keeps feet clean, allowing access to garden even when damp
Provides a “finished” look to a garden/landscape
Fall and winter: insulate plants.
Spring and summer: hold in moisture and decrease weeds.
When mulching, you will need to look at the specific type of mulch you are using to determine the best amount to use. You will find that certain mulches like rock or grass clippings will need thinner layers. When piled too thickly, grass clippings clump, and become slimy as it decomposes creating a less than pleasant odor. Rock can get too heavy if too much is used. So take care in how much you use when choosing your mulch type.
Overall, for wood (pieces and shredded alike) the rule of thumb is your application should be about a four-inch layer over most of the area. Near the plant, however, barely cover ground as it will hold in too much moisture and cause the plant to rot. Newer trees, be sure to keep a space of six-inches between the tree and the mulch also to prevent rotting.
Remember when using wood product, it will leach nitrogen from the soil as it breaks down so be sure to add a fertilizer with nitrogen additive to the soil prior to laying your mulch.
Final note, typically organic mulches will need to be replenished about every six months.
There are many options and style available for mulching and Pacific Vista Landscape Services wants to help you find the perfect one for your home or business. When planning a garden or preparing to change your landscaping, be sure to contact Pacific Vista and we would be happy to discuss the best option for your plans!