Archive for March, 2011

What Should I Plant?

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

“OK! OK! I get it! I should plant the right tree in the right place. You’ve convinced me to select trees to fit the spaces available, and to accomplish the function(s) I’d like to see happen. But………………….just what are the right species to reach my objective(s)?” This is, of course, the most legitimate next question that comes to the mind of anyone following the entries in this series of blogs.

There are a myriad of tree species available from various sources such as nurseries, lawn and garden centers, discount houses, and grocery stores. Naturally, a wide range of prices exist because of these diverse sources. In general, the best sources of quality stocks are found at nurseries and lawn and garden centers, and the lesser quality stocks are found at the seasonal lawn and garden displays found at discount stores and grocery stores’ parking lots. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and quality stock can be found anywhere depending on how it has been grown and handled. Never buy anything that looks unhealthy or in damaged condition; especially if it is “on sale.” There are several good guides available that describe how to identify good planting material.

Probably the best overall guide for selecting trees for urban plantings in Missouri is the booklet,”Missouri Urban Trees” which is published by the Missouri Department of Conservation. I recommend it highly, and it is available free of charge from the Forestry Division, MDC, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102, or through the Departments website at www.mdc.mo.gov. Regional MDC offices plus most other local work unit offices also have the booklet available for distribution, so check them out if you live nearby.

The booklet has just about all the information you will need to decide which tree species will be best for your personal situation; which I obviously can’t do in a blog entry. Check it out. One of the best sections of the treatise is the listing of trees that should be avoided, and why they should be avoided. Very useful information. Here is a simple listing of these species:

green and white ash                                     European white birch

boxelder                                                           northern catalpa

black cherry                                                   Siberian (Chinese) elm

common hackberry                                     hickory

black locust                                                     silver maple

mimosa                                                             mountainash

white and red mulberry                             pin oak

shingle oak                                                      Russian olive

Osage orange                                                  paw paw

callery pears (esp. Bradford)                  persimmon

Austrian pine                                                 Scotch pine

cottonwood                                                    Lombardy poplar

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus)                       black walnut

willows (esp. weeping)

Interesting stuff here.

Planting The Right Tree In The Right Place

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

One of the basic tenets of successful care and management of trees in urban/suburban situations is to assure (as best you can) that the right tree is planted in the right place. This basic act assures that the tree has all the advantages for growth and development that the location can provide. Plus, it greatly reduces the cost and aggravation for the property owner as they deal with the routine maintenance activities through the years. A tree out of place can become a nuisance (and perhaps a liability) that becomes more difficult and expensive to deal with, especially as it increases in size.

There is lots of information available to assist homeowners in determining what the “right” tree is for their planting project; starting with species selection and ending with properly planting the tree itself. Much of this information has been presented in previous entries at this site. However, it never hurts to post reminders, because this subject is so very important.

Presented below are two diagrams gleaned from Missouri Department of Conservation publications which outline basic guidelines concerning the selection of the right kinds of trees (not species) for locations around a home. Later, I’ll get into species selection and other aspects of Right Tree Right Place, but I urge you to study these stylized diagrams and try to envision how they might have application to your proposed planting plans for this spring. Click on the images to enlarge.

Pruning Time – Just Do It!

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Well, it’s time to get after those pruning chores you have lined up for the spring. The tools are ready (sharp, located, etc.), safety items are on hand (safety glasses, gloves, etc.), and you have the priority branches, limbs, etc.  identified. So, about all that is left is to “get er done.” Remember to make the cuts properly if you do the work yourself (click images to enlarge):

Be careful who you hire  to do the work:

Don’t overprune:

And, last, but not least:

Happy pruning!