#1 When a tree is planted it should be securely staked to ensure the development of a stable root system and a strong trunk. Sometimes you need to stake trees to keep them upright and the chance to grow straight. Unstaked trees tend to grow a more extensive root base and allowing a small amount of movement will help root development. Wires and ties can be the worst thing for staked plants by cutting into the bark.
#2 Wrap new trees with tree wrap to prevent insect entry. Recent studies have shown that using common tree wraps do not prevent insect entry and in some instances, insects like to dig and burrow underneath the wrap.
#3 Trees should be trimmed back heavily when they are planted to make up for the loss of roots. Tree growth is best with unpruned trees. Tree trimming at the top of trees can reduce the amount of water that evaporates from leaves but it needs a full crown to produce the needed food and plant hormones that promote good root growth. Trees will develop a better root system if it has a full crown. Do not prune at the time of planting except for the removal of damaged limbs and branches.
#4 When removing a branch from a tree, the last cut should be flush with the trunk to optimize healing. Flush cutting removes the branch collar and creates a larger wound than if it were not cut off flush. There is also a greater chance of tree trunk damage when cutting it off flush.
#5 Trimming wounds larger than 3 inches in diameter should be painted with a wound dressing. Studies have shown that common wound dressings for trees do not stop tree decay or prevent insect entry. Many of the commonly used tree dressings actually slow down the ability of the tree to repair itself.
#7 Topping trees makes them less hazardous in the landscape. While it is true that in the short run, topping trees does reduce the potential hazard, the topping stimulates growth of branches below the cuts. Many vigorous shoots leads to branches with weak attachments to the trunk. Decay also spreads inside the cut stubs and branches that were topped. 2-5 years after topping the tree will be more hazardous than before the topping. In addition, topping trees is ugly.
#8 The root system of a tree is a mirror image of the top of the tree. The entire root system of most trees can be found in the first 3 feet of the soil. The entire root system however can actually be 2-3 times as large as the spread of the crown.
#9 Trees need "Deep Root Fertilization" to reach the root system. The vast majority of U.S. soils have the water and nutrients in the first 8 inches. Roots will grow where conditions are best for them and where water an oxygen are available. When fertilizer is placed 12 - 18 inches into the soil, generally it is too deep to do much good.
#10 When a tree has lost a significant portion of its root system such as in construction damage, the crown should be cut back to compensate for root loss. Recent studies have shown that unpruned trees respond better than pruned trees when there has been root loss. Removal of any branches will reduce the capacity of the tree to produce food in the leaves. The tree however might lose some branches after the root damage and in some instances will die. Pruning should be limited to hazard reduction and after the tree has responded to the root damage, further trimming and pruning would then be in order.
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