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Tree-Care Tips and Tricks

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shutterstock_145479625There is something special about planting a tree. Perhaps it’s the aesthetic value it brings, or maybe it’s the environmentally friendly aspect of planting something that adds value to our atmosphere and provides life to so many other parts of nature. Or maybe it is because when you plant a tree you can see its benefits for a lifetime.

When you decide to plant a tree, there are some essential tree-care tips that you can and perhaps should bear in mind to increase the chances of tree survival and hopefully encourage the growth of your newly planted tree. For as nice as it is to see your tree grow, it can be equally sad or disappointing to plant a tree that doesn’t quite make it to its ripe old age.

Selecting the right tree

This is crucial to ensuring tree growth. There’s no sense planting a tree that thrives in sunlight in an area where it simply does not get any. It pays to do a little research on this area. First, consider where you want to plant the tree, and the purpose of planting it.

  • Are you planting it in an area where there may be height restrictions, such as power lines, or a neighbour’s tree overhanging and obstructing height growth? If yes, then you want a tree that does not grow too high or can be pruned in a way that limits its height.
  • Are you planting a tree in an area where it is exposed to a lot of sun? A tree can provide a beautiful shaded area to enjoy the outdoor aspect of your home. Consider planting a large deciduous tree which can handle the sun and provide the shade you may desire, but it will not block out the winter sun that other plants, grass or trees in your yard may need.
  • Is your tree to be planted to provide privacy? A semi-formal hedge of trees can be a rustic and modern way to add privacy to your home or block out an unseemly neighbouring fence or brick wall. Of course, using the right tree is essential. Our recommendations are Tuckaroo or Lilypillie – these are ideal native Australian trees that are fast growing and can quickly provide the privacy you need. Be sure to have evergreen trees, because otherwise in winter when the hedge loses its leaves, there goes your privacy.
  • Perhaps your tree is to be an added aesthetic to your garden. You may then want select the right type of ornamental tree, flowering tree, or even perhaps a deciduous tree that grows vibrant coloured blossoms in spring. Jacaranda trees are very aesthetic, but be careful to ensure that they will have the right amount of sun and the right soil.

Importance of soil and mulch

shutterstock_104220485Once you have a selected your tree, after giving thought to its purpose and considering the best area for it to be planted, the importance of good soil and good mulch cannot be over-emphasised.

Yes, there are different types of soil. Some are high in nutrients, and other types of soil are not. The soil structure can create the right oxygen levels and provide the necessary amount of nutrients to help establish the roots of your tree. Spending a little bit more on soil which is high in nutrients and minerals can benefit your tree enormously. The benefit may in the outcome outweigh the cost. If you decided to buy a cheap soil, you may find that your tree’s roots don’t establish, it will start to look unhealthy, and you may end up spending more on the treatment of the tree than you would have on the better soil.

The same can be said for ensuring you provide a good level of mulch on top of the soil. Mulch is a variety of natural materials that are placed on top of the soil surface. It improves the soil structure by minimising soil compaction; it also adds to the oxygen levels and insulates the soil to protect it from elements of the weather. Importantly, mulch can help the soil to retain water which keeps the soil moist.  Be careful when mulching, however, that the mulch does not touch the trunk. Just ensure it is placed on the surface of the soil around the tree base.

Staking

shutterstock_55062847Many people choose to stake their trees to protect it from toppling over and to assist the roots to establish themselves. Staking can be useful, but may also be detrimental. Staking, if not done properly, can replace the supportive trunk and root system with this artificial form of support. Be careful to ensure the stake is not rubbing or damaging the trunk, and that the ties are secure but have wriggle room. Allowing for some movement will set up a stronger and more established trunk and root system.

Watering

Watering your tree is, of course, important, but more so for the first two years of its life. Your tree is expending a lot of energy to gets its roots established in the soil. Providing a good amount of water that ensures the soil is moist – but not too wet – will help the tree’s roots to establish themselves. Adopting a deep watering technique – that is, keeping the soil moist to a depth that includes the roots – can accelerate growth and stability.  After two years, the roots should be established in such a way that your tree can withstand a wider range of water conditions.

Caring for your tree when it’s young can ensure a lifetime of benefits. There are many helpful websites out there. Research now can pave the way for a better tree tomorrow.

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