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Monday, 20 October 2008 20:58

Young tree maintenance during the Summer

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By Martin Herbert

Its not the time to be complacent with your young trees especially in these warm conditions. Here’s a few tips:

Firming up
  • Check small trees are not becoming unsettled in the soil, firm them in carefully, and keep the stem upright.
Mulching
  • Mulching is a simple and effective means to suppress weeds around the trees, at the same time it keeps the ground surface cool and moist. Avoid lawn clippings as these interfere with the free passage of air and rainwater into the soil.
Watering
  • Some parts of the country have been dry, check the soil to see if watering is really required. The most effected will be new young plants, although larger specimens will benefit from a thorough soaking if they have been through a continuous dry period.
Pruning
  • Pruning during the summer months can be done particularly where branches have been snapped by the heavy winds we have had, wait until after the Autumn to carry out any major work.
Weeding
  • Weeds and grasses will compete with young trees for moisture and nutrients. Small trees may also be shaded or pulled down by tall weeds. It’s highly beneficial to the tree to remove grass and weeds over an area of at least 1 square metre around each tree. Even weeds that have been mown down are harmful, and will reduce the rate of growth of the tree.
Hand weeding
  • Competing weeds can be removed by pulling by hand or by shallow hoeing.
Chemical weeding
  • Select herbicides which will not damage the tree, and follow the manufacturers instructions carefully.
Stakes and Ties
  • Trees grow best without stakes. Seedlings and transplants should not require staking. For larger trees a stake approximately one third the height of the tree should be all that’s required. It should be possible to remove the stake entirely within two years of planting. All ties should be checked regularly to ensure the ties are not restricting the growth of the tree.
  • So if you want your trees to be enjoyed by the next generation, make sure you give some time on maintenance. One small acorn makes for one large tree