Newly Planted Trees, Shrubs, Perennials – Aftercare

You’ve installed some new trees, shrubs and perennials…now what?  In order to keep them looking great, there are a few simple care steps that should follow planting, especially in June.   A thorough soaking of water, followed by moisture monitoring. Nothing special here; use a sprinkler can to place water evenly throughout the entire root…

Going Soft

After cleaning up the damage to my plants from the hail storm on May 28th I didn’t cut back the damaged flower spikes to my German iris.  Not sure why I didn’t.  Probably because the flower stalks had injury but they didn’t seem to need immediate care. However, making that deceisoin I probably did more…

You Can’t Plant That Here aka Right Plant, Right Place

I see it every day.  Wrong Plant, Wrong Place.  Perhaps it’s an occupational hazard.  Maybe job security.  Maybe just (as the Spanish speakers say) “así es”, or “it is, what it is”.   On a recent trip, in a location known for “good horticulture”, I ran across some good, er, bad examples.  There were trees…

Fall Tree Planting in Spring

If you want it to look good this fall, plant it now…in spring.   Everyone loves the gold, bronze, red and purple colors of shade trees in the fall, but many put it off and put it off.  Why not enjoy the green of spring and summer and the glory of fall all in one?…

Mulch Volcanoes—A Harmful Practice for Trees

Too often the mindset is if a little is good then a lot must be better. So it goes with the spring task of mulching. A “mulch volcano” is the tongue-in-cheek term given to those copious heaps of woodchips surrounding a tree.  No one knows exactly where this harmful practice came from but all it…

Flooding From a Tree’s Perspective

While flood waters are in and surrounding your home, it’s best to focus on the basic needs of life – food, water and shelter.  After initial needs are met, those of us with medium to large trees should consider the influences of an extended period of time with excessive water in contact with the roots,…

Pruning Fruit Trees

In order to be productive, fruit trees need to be pruned each year…yes, every year.  In fact, one of the most common problems that we encounter is homeowners with trees that have been unpruned for a year, or two, or three and as a result the tree is a tangled mess of branches here and…

What Kills Trees

Trees in native undisturbed sites live, on average, to be about 150 years old.  Downtown trees have a life expectancy of 7-17 years; suburban trees 30-40 years; and rural trees 60-70 years.  Why is there such a difference in life expectancy between trees in native sites than those in disturbed sites? Certainly there are acute…

Bark Bummers

Bark Bummers   This time of year is good and challenging for Midwesterners.  The challenging?  The weather.  Nuff said.  The good?  It’s a great time to notice potential problems in trees and shrubs in the landscape.   At this point in the season, there aren’t any leaves, fruit or flowers (except for a couple species) to…