Proper tree and shrub care is just as important as good lawn care practices to Cedar Rapids area homeowners. Trees and shrubs are an important part of most landscapes and keeping them properly maintained adds value and beauty to your property. Here are some tree and shrub care tips that will help you keep your landscape healthy and appealing.
Fertilize Your Trees & Shrubs, Not Just Your Lawn
When we think of fertilizing, we often only think about the lawn. However, trees and shrubs also greatly benefit from fertilization. While more established trees and shrubs don’t need as much supplemental feeding, younger plants can greatly benefit from fertilization. Tree and shrub fertilization gives them a greater resilience to disease and insects and it provides quicker establishment and growth than trees and shrubs with no supplemental nutrients.
Tree & Shrub Fertilization Quick Tips:
- Applying fertilizer to trees and shrubs during the first 5 years after being transplanted greatly increases growth and helps them mature more quickly.
- Do not fertilize trees between July 15th and the fall when trees and shrubs begin to enter dormancy as this stimulates growth and they do not have a chance to harden making them more susceptible to damage from winter conditions.
Mulch… It’s Not Just for Good Looks
Other than adding texture and appeal to the landscape, mulch also keeps your trees and shrubs healthy! During hot summer months, surface soil temperatures can reach over 100°F and this can cause serious and fatal damage to root systems. Applying a 3″ layer of mulch around trees, shrubs, and other plants will reduce the soil temperature by 10°F giving trees and shrubs healthy soil conditions for continued growth. Mulch also helps to retain moisture around your plants. This means you can water less and not worry about over watering your new plants. Mulch also protects from soil erosion or wash-out, soil compaction, and provides a barrier of protection from lawn mowers and weed trimmers.
Tree & Shrub Mulch Quick Tips:
- Do not mulch in early fall as this is the time when mice and small rodents like to find warm places to settle for the winter, and you new mulch bed will be prime real estate. 🙂
- Don’t add new mulch to the top of old mulch as this can cause rot, disease, and insect problems. Remove grass and weeds first, cultivate the soil, and then add new mulch.
Watering New and Established Trees & Shrubs
Most tree and shrub roots are located within the top 3 feet of soil and suffer during periods of heat and drought. When transplanting new trees and shrubs, they go through shock as they go from one environment to another. It’s important to start them off right with plenty of water. Water every 1 to 3 days for the first two weeks after planting. Continue to keep the soil moist for the following 2 to 3 weeks as the roots continue to grow out. For more established trees and shrubs, it’s difficult to see water stress but some signs include wilting, early leaf drop, and change in leaf color. Eliminate run off by only applying water as fast as the soil with soak it up.
Tree & Shrub Watering Quick Tips:
- Watering and fertilizing properly will give new trees and shrubs a healthy start.
- Be mindful that garden centers feed new trees and shrubs with a lot of water so be sure to continue watering often after you transplant so as to keep the plant from going into shock.
Our tree and shrub experts have over 20 years experience diagnosing diseases and treating trees and shrubs to keep them healthy and beautiful. Call us at 319-310-1553 or fill out our online free estimate form if you would like to set up an appointment for tree and shrub care.