Archive for November, 2009

The Dormant Season

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

As late fall comes to a close, and winter begins (on December 21), the dormant season for trees and most other perennial plants sets in. This is a good time to do several things that will benefit your tree care efforts during the 2010 growing season. Following are some dormant season tips that I have found useful:

1. Check and clean your tools. Sharpen them what needs it, and repair any breaks, or potential breaks, that would cause the tool to fail next spring. Replace any that need it; now is a good time because they may be on sale. Also a very good idea: if you exchange Christmas gifts, let your kids, or other family members, know where they can get a tool that you’ve been needing or coveting! The “Santas’ out there are always looking for ideas, especially if you’re the guy or gal “who has everything.”

2. Check out the tops of taller trees. Now is a good time to check the crowns of your larger/taller deciduous trees for dead wood that needs to be removed, badly oriented limbs that need to be pruned, damage that has been obscured by the green leaves of summer, etc. With the leaves gone, and a good pair of field glasses (if you’re an old geezer like me) you can assess how well the upper part of your trees are doing, and what kind of corrective work might be needed later in the winter or early spring.

3. Check out how well your mulch rings are doing. Inventory which ones will need more mulch, so you will have an idea of how much you’ll need to purchase later on.

4. Locate any future planting spots and stake them. Then, you can concentrate your planning efforts on deciding which species will best fit that space; what size to get, where you can get the right planting stock; etc.

5. Look for, and take advantage, of any sale items you will need in the future. Many retailers and garden centers have winter sales for leftover items like fertilizer, insecticides, fungicides, garden hose, even tools, etc. that can be stored until needed. If you find a great price, stock up now.

Proper tree care is an ongoing activity. Although it slows down during the dormant season, it doesn’t go into hibernation. It’s always good to be thinking and planning ahead, so I hope these few tips will be helpful in that regard. A cup of hot chocolate, cider, or other favorite winter drink, now and then, also helps the dedicated tree caregiver get through the dormant season.

Reducing The Height Of A Large Tree

Saturday, November 7th, 2009


Occasionally, there are legitimate reasons to reduce the height of a large tree. The following illustration from the National Arbor Day Foundation shows (generally) how this can be done without topping the tree.