Ask Danny | Ep. 26: When to Plant and When to Prune

Today's Homeowner TV host Danny Lipford and ISA certified arborist Billy Allen
On this episode of Ask Danny, arborist Billy Allen gives his skilled tips about planting and pruning. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

On this episode of Ask Danny, arborist Billy Allen gives his skilled tips about planting and pruning.

Billy is an ISA Licensed Arborist, AUFA Licensed City Forester, an ALNLA Licensed Panorama Skilled, and plenty of extra.

He’s the proprietor and operator of Top Notch Tree Care, the place he supplies companies comparable to residential and business pruning and/or removing in addition to consulting companies for pre-construction preservation of timber, illness prognosis and remedy, and well being and structural assessments. He additionally supplies plant well being care companies comparable to tree fertilizing, pesticide software, and soil compaction mitigation. 

Gloved hands planting a tree in soil
Arborists say the very best time to plant a tree is when it goes into dormancy. (KatarzynaBialasiewicz, Getty Photographs Professional)

When to Plant

What’s the very best time of the 12 months to plant?

Billy: For the very best time to plant a tree, the overwhelming majority of the time it’s going to be because the tree goes into dormancy — late fall, early winter. Once you’re planting a tree, you’re going to lose lots of roots, so that you need the warmth stress on the plant to be as little as it probably may be. 

The exception can be citrus timber. You need to plant these after the final frost of the springtime as a result of a superb freeze may be detrimental to them. 

The largest drawback I see individuals do when planting has to do with depth. Deeper shouldn’t be higher. Give it some thought this manner: Who vegetation a tree within the forest? The reply is nobody. A seed falls on high of the bottom, natural materials covers it up, and it sprouts.

You need the topmost root of that plant, whether or not it’s a tree or shrub, to be at or simply above grade. In case you have lots of clay within the soil, incorporate one thing into the soil to mitigate that very wonderful materials. You need to until out three to 4 occasions past the dimensions of the foundation ball and put together that soil so it’s extra advantageous for the roots to develop out. 

Man pruning shrub/bush with pruning shears
You may prune any time of 12 months so long as you’re doing it accurately. (prathan chorruangsak, Canva)

When to Prune

When’s the very best time to prune a tree?

Billy: You may prune any time of 12 months so long as you’re doing it accurately. I see lots of incorrect pruning, particularly on crepe myrtles, azaleas and stay oak timber. 

It’s essential to make the cuts on the proper spot and never defoliate the plant greater than what needs to be finished in a rising season needs to be thought of. In the event you try this, you’ll be able to prune three hundred and sixty five days a 12 months. 

In the event you’re going to do aggressive pruning, like with crepe myrtles, that you must do it throughout the dormant season. 

With flowering vegetation, there are such a lot of issues it’s important to contemplate, however there’s a factor referred to as the Might rule. In case your vegetation are blooming earlier than Might, prune them simply after they bloom. This consists of camellias and azaleas. For vegetation that bloom after Might, prune them throughout the dormant season. 

After you’ve made your pruning cuts, don’t put sealant on it. The therapeutic course of happens chemically contained in the tree.

It’s truly walling off that space of useless tissue and preserving that decay confined to that specific space. What you do to the surface has no bearing. 

Dying tree next to green trees against a blue skyline
A tree’s well being can fail for a lot of causes, comparable to lack of water, nutrient deficiency, pest infestations, and illnesses. (HendrikDB, Getty Photographs)

Tree Well being

How do you guarantee a wholesome tree/shrub? 

Billy: It actually has loads to do with the preliminary institution of the plant, how that plant grows and thrives from the preliminary installment ahead. 

My recommendation as an arborist is to verify the soil is prepped accurately and comply with the spacing pointers. 

What are some causes for a tree’s failing well being? 

Billy: Regarding tree well being, the primary factor I see is root injury, particularly in mature timber. Whether or not it’s compaction, slicing of roots, grade adjustments, or adjustments within the route of the move of water, all of these issues will negatively affect a tree.

Mature timber are loads much less tolerant than smaller timber whenever you’re speaking about caring for his or her roots. 

How a lot injury can a tree’s root system take earlier than it begins to hurt the tree?

Billy: It’s subjective. Folks ask me on a regular basis “how a lot of those roots can I lose and nonetheless preserve the tree?” The reply is, I can’t let you know. 

The best solution to clarify it’s to consider a dinner plate. The dinner plate is the entire feeder roots of the tree. Then think about a wine glass with a stem. The pedestal of that stem is the structural root plate of the tree. You may lose lots of the dinner plate and the tree remains to be structurally sound.

Healthwise, it is dependent upon how a lot of the dinner plate you lose as to how the tree will survive transferring ahead, and that could be a very troublesome query to reply.

I recommend having a certified arborist take a look at the tree and provide you with an evaluation as a result of each website goes to be completely different and each tree goes to be completely different.

My basic reply is save as a lot as you’ll be able to.  

Wildflower bed around an old walnut tree
A flower mattress round a tree is an effective way so as to add a splash of colour to your yard, however ensure the soil doesn’t smother the tree’s roots. (HoleInTheBucket, Getty Photographs)

Backyard Beds Round Timber

What are your ideas on placing a raised backyard mattress across the trunk of a tree?

Billy: You don’t need to pile dust up across the tree in any type. There are some tolerance ranges there, relying on what sort of soil you’re working with.

Sand is extra porous so you may get away with extra sand on high of the foundation than you’ll be able to clay.

It’s all about air infiltration right down to the feeder roots. These need to have oxygen and when you pile a bunch of dust on high, they’ll suffocate after which the tree will decline. 

Preserve the foundation flare (the place the primary foremost roots connect to the trunk) uncovered. Once you see timber that appear like a pencil approaching out of the bottom, meaning the foundation flare is buried. 

The place to Discover an Arborist

An arborists inspects the foliage on a tree
An arborist can assist diagnose any issues {that a} tree might have and supply recommendation on how you can greatest take care of it. (welcomia, Canva)

There’s a science behind what we do. With out figuring out how to do this, it’s unimaginable to attain correct upkeep or well being methods. Go to to discover a native arborist.

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