I got lots of emails following Sunday’s GardenLine, because I had hinted that we might be able to extend the pruning season for just about all trees that normally get clipped in January and February. I’ve been pretty adamant over the years that most tree pruning should be finished by March. But, yes ... due to the cold, wet weather early this month, Mother Nature and I are extending the 2019 pruning season.
This year’s early March freezes were expected and not utterly devastating, as some past March freezes have been. And, looking ahead, few days this month are projected to be colder than 49 degrees.
So, today I’m going to clear up all the questions that have come in concerning tree care.
- Since the weather was cooler and exceptionally wetter than normal in February and March, it is NOT TOO LATE to have hardwood trees professionally pruned. The window is open through April this year.
- If you already pruned your fruit trees, especially citrus, before the March 4-5 freeze, consider a light prune here and there (like a nip-and-tuck) along with a feeding to encourage new growth and, hopefully, a new set of blooms.
- If your trees are less than seven years old, you should consider pruning them yourself due to the cost of hiring pros. There are minimum charges in the tree industry for a half-day’s work.If you don’t believe me, call Affordable Tree Service, my recommended tree company, and quiz them: 713-699-2663
- Since the ground is so soft from the endless rain, I encourage anyone who wants to deep-root feed their trees to get out there and auger the holes. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, there may never be a better time.
- If you can’t auger holes this week, fear not. It can be done any time of year. It’s just easier now, due to the super-saturated soil.
- For the “feeding” part of deep-root feeding, I really don’t care what you use as long as it’s organic. Nearly all the organic all-purpose granular food I endorse will work. Examples include Micro Life 6-2-4 and Lady Bug 8-2-4. Don’t use 11-0-4 formulas though … they are more specifically for lawns.
- Don’t even think about using weed-and-feed products on grass near a tree. If you have, that’s why your trees probably aren’t doing so well.
- It’s a good time to plant containerized trees and move transplants. But in Southeast Texas, we can plant containerized trees pretty much year-around. However, if you want a tree to really thrive immediately after transplanting, get it done in the next 30-45 days.
- Yes, we use mulch rings around younger trees, but stop with the “mulch volcanoes” already … trees only need about 2-3 inches of mulch.
- While you’re at it, stop planting flowers in mulch rings. You can’t really plant flowers in two inches of mulch.
- Also, stop using dyed mulch around trees. It’s DYED! Where do you think the dye will go as it leaches out?
- Fuzzy stuff on trees? Lichens are good, but ball moss is bad. Identify and treat accordingly.