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October 2016 Newsletter – Cherokee Tree Care

A Myth About Pruning Trees

Many people believe that pruning should be only done when the tree sap is up or down and that the best time to do tree pruning is in the fall. In reality, it is more important how you prune your tree than when.

There are some basic rules that need to be followed when pruning a tree and it is important to take into consideration that making incorrect cuts can cause damage to your tree for its lifetime.

Primarily, you always want to always make the smallest diameter cuts as possible to prevent diseases and pests from invading the wound. By cutting outside of the branch collar, you achieve much smaller wounds than flush cuts.

Always stick to the 25% rule and never prune more than that amount of foliage off of the tree. Taking more foliage than this will hinder a tree’s ability to grow, as leaves are a tree’s source of food for growth.

Knowing your tree species and its growth pattern is important in pruning because different trees require different pruning needs. For instance, a Red Maple has drooping branches and develop thick branches that become as large as the trunk (also known as codominant leads) which create sharp angles and weak branch unions, while a Pin Oak generally has one dominant lead with a very dense branching structure. These two very different trees call for different pruning requirements.

Please call us for your pruning needs and we will abide by ANSI A300 standards and use proper tools and make the correct cuts for your trees.

Why Pruning in Winter is a Good Idea

In our area, trees generally go dormant from November through February. Although the leaves have fallen, we can still tell what is dead and what is alive on the tree. In the winter we can get a great view of the branching structure for each individual tree.

When we are able to prune in winter, we can be sure to avoid diseases that affect trees in the warmer months such as Dutch elm disease and oak wilt. Pests are also not a common issue in the winter months and we can eliminate the risk of vascular disease from insects which is a common problem for trees with open wounds in the summer months.

Call us today to get on our winter pruning schedule.

Preventive Care

Although the season for Japanese beetles is over, we need to be proactive about their appearance next year. During the summer months, the female beetles lay their larvae eggs in the soil. While they are still grubs, they hang out in your soil and feast on grass roots. In June, they emerge as beetles and continue the cycle.

One thing we can do to combat these pests is a soil drench in early spring. This treatment is applied to the soil around the plant and one treatment in early spring is all that is needed to prevent various insect damage.  Now is time to get on our schedule for this preventative treatment before the problem arises again.

We are also booking spray treatments of horticulture oil applied for hard shelled insects like scale to help prevent egg hatch in spring. Scale can easily be mistaken for small bumps or blemishes on twigs, but when a host is heavily infested, the tree can be weakened and stunted growth can occur. Preventive spray treatments should be done anytime November through March.

Fertilization for your young trees is another service to consider scheduling now. We recommend fertilizing your trees once a year for the first 5 years after being planted. This 80% slow release application will give your trees the necessary nutrients to get a healthy, strong start. We fertilize in late fall through early spring.

Give us a call now to schedule your preventive pest care or fertilization needs.