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Tree Selection and Care. Agenda. Selection Planting Staking Watering Fertilizing Pruning Diseases Insects. Lacebark Elm. Selection Proper hardiness (Zone 6) Soil type – depth, pH, structure most roots are within top 26”-32” roots grow out 1-2X tree height

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  • Selection
  • Planting
  • Staking
  • Watering
  • Fertilizing
  • Pruning
  • Diseases
  • Insects

Lacebark Elm


  • Proper hardiness (Zone 6)
  • Soil type – depth, pH, structure
    • most roots are within top 26”-32”
    • roots grow out 1-2X tree height
  • Light exposure (sun or shade)
  • Utility & infra-structure conflicts

Honey Locust


  • Well developed central leader
  • Branches well distributed with wide angles
  • Branches lined with live buds that are well distributed
  • Inspect for wounds, poorly healed grafts, insects, etc.



  • Containerized plants balanced with their pots; reject root-bound plants (circling roots)
  • B&B – balls should be solid, adequate size


  • Dig a wide hole 2-3 times the pot diameter
  • Remove from container and ensure roots aren’t tangled or wrapped in pot
  • Set plant where the root flare is level with the soil


  • Girdling roots
  • Wire baskets
  • Burlap
  • Synthetic burlap
  • Wicking

Backfill the hole with the original soil

  • Water thoroughly
  • Build a 1-2” berm to hold water around site perimeter
  • Apply a layer of mulch (2-4”)



Planting in Problem Sites

  • Clay soil
    • vertically score edge of planting hole to prevent clay pan forming
  • Poorly drained locations
    • plant high with 1/3 of root ball above grade
    • cover with soil (create a mound)
planting don ts
Planting Don’ts
  • Amend backfill with peat, sandy soil, or organic matter, unless working up entire bed
  • Dig hole deeper than container; leads to soil settling
  • Prune heavily to balance root/shoot ratio
  • Fertilize


  • Only install if absolutely necessary!
  • 1 or 2 stakes
  • Hose over wire, looped
  • Base of crown
  • Remove after 2nd year.


  • Water deeply, but infrequently
  • Apply at least 10 gal each time
  • Soaker hoses work great
  • Heavy soils – water once a week
  • Sandy soils – water twice a week
  • First year, water if soil dry

Reduces weed and grass competition

  • Conserves moisture
  • Reduces soil temperature fluctuations
  • Increases soil organic matter
  • Keeps weed wacker away


mulch secret to success
Mulch, Secret to Success
  • Almost any organic material

- use caution with grass clipping (high N)

or leaves (pack tightly or blow away)

  • 3-4 inches deep with volcano pattern
  • Check mulch depth, and reapply twice a year (spring & fall)
  • Mulch protects trees from mower damage

No fertilizer needed 1st summer or at planting

  • Light fertilization OK 1st fall or early next spring
  • Usually lawn fertilizers supply plenty for tree growth


Callery Pear

  • High pH problem, so select formulas with sulphate
  • Kansas soils typically have adequate of potassium (K) and phosphorous (P)
  • Nitrogen most needed
    • turf fertilizers
    • urea (46-0-0)
    • ammonium sulphate (21-0-0-24)
specialty fertilizers gimmicks
Specialty Fertilizers(Gimmicks)
  • Root stimulators (vitamin B)]
  • Fertilizer spikes convenient, but very expensive per pound of nutrient
  • Acid-forming fertilizers with trace elements (Fe, Mg, Mn, Zn, B) may be useful for some species and sites
trunk wrapping
Trunk Wrapping
  • Usually not needed to prevent sun scald!
    • Problem if tree shipped from areas unlike Kansas
  • Only use if sapling does not have any lower branches or leaves
  • Problems if bound tightly or kept on too long
    • Apply Nov-Feb, then remove
  • Perforated plastic collars or wrap
  • Kraft paper is OK
  • Wrap from the bottom up


Removing branches with minimum damage to cambium or growing tissue so that the wound will heal properly in the shortest possible time

Kentucky Coffeetree


How to prune?

  • Use sharp, clean, appropriate tools
  • Cut back to just outside the branch collar

- Do not leave stubs, they heal slowly, or result in abundant sprouting

- Flush cuts make overly large wounds, and expose the trunk to decay.


Proper Cut


Cuts should be back to a vigorous side shoot

Whenever tips are removed, lower buds are stimulated to grow

when to prune
When to Prune
  • Winter or early spring – structural problems are visible
  • Spring and summer – dieback evident
  • Fall – only to repair storm damage; wounds heal slowly and prone to disease
maintenance pruning
Maintenance Pruning
  • Dead or diseased branches
  • Water sprouts: base of trunk or in tree
  • Crossing branches causing rubbing and damage
  • Narrow V crotches should be eliminated
  • Branches interfering with utilities
  • Prune branches to increase air flow
  • Remove damaged or unsightly branches
pruning young trees
Pruning Young Trees
  • Newly planted treeslittle at planting
  • Year 1 or 2

- remove a few of the lowest branches

- select most upright, vigorous branch for leader

- lowest branches should be 7’ off ground

- Next branches about 12” apart

- select branches with wide angles

- select branches no more than half trunk diameter



Never allow topping, stubbing or heading back

tree wound treatments
Tree wound treatments
  • Not necessary or beneficial
    • Tar can slow healing
  • Wound shaping, trimming not effective
  • Brushed on dressings or paint only for appearance
  • Healing is related to diameter growth – keep the tree vigorous and the wound will heal more quickly
pruning evergreens
Pruning Evergreens


  • Suggestion: No pruning
  • Usually not necessary unless you want to improve the denseness
  • Prune candles to ½ length after it is fully grown; late spring
pruning evergreens1
Pruning Evergreens


  • Cut back 1 year old shoots to one of the lateral side buds or branches in early spring before new growth begins
pruning evergreens2
Pruning Evergreens

Junipers or arborvitae:

  • During early spring, prune branches back to a side branch
  • Inner dead zones – do not make pruning cuts into this zone
  • New growth will only develop from green twigs
how to tell health history of tree
How to Tell Health History of Tree
  • Look at current season’s growth
  • Mature Trees: At least 4 inches new growth per year
  • Young, vigorous trees: At least 6 to 8 inches new growth per year
tree diseases
Tree Diseases
  • Biotic: Caused by infectious pathogens
    • Fungi, bacteria, viruses
  • Abiotic: Caused by noninfectious pathogens
    • Weather stress, nutrient deficiency, chemical injury, soil factors
disease triangle
Disease Triangle

Susceptible Plant





types of disease
Types of Disease
  • Foliage
  • Cankers
  • Fruit
  • Wilts
  • Root rots
  • Wood Decay
  • Cedar Apple Rust
  • Apples: ¼” orange spots, leaf tops
  • Junipers: 2” reddish galls
  • Separate 2 species
  • Control with fungicides on apples in April, May


  • Wound, stress pathogen
  • Avoid canker-prone trees
  • Maintain health
  • Prune dead branches


  • Soil borne fungal wilt
  • Vascular problems
  • No cure
  • Confused with girdling
types of insect injury
Types of Insect Injury
  • Chewing: fall webworms, bagworms
  • Piercing-Sucking: aphids, scale insects
  • Internal feeders: borers, galls
  • Insect vectored diseases: Dutch elm, fireblight
bagworms damage
Bagworms Damage
  • Feed on foliage of host plant.
  • Often damage is not noticed until bagworm so large that it is hard to control.
controlling bagworms
Controlling Bagworms
  • Small infestations can be picked off by hand.
  • Wait at least a week after seeing first larvae appear before spraying to allow complete emergence of insects.
  • Can use acephate (Orthene), chlorpyrifos (Dursban), malathion, or carbaryl (Sevin) for control.
bronze birch borer damage
Bronze Birch Borer Damage
  • Adult beetles emerge from holes in branches and trunks during June and July and lay eggs in cracks in bark
  • Larvae make crooked, crisscrossing galleries in inner bark
  • Galleries are backed with dark brow sawdust-like excrement
  • Tunneling by larvae often girdles branches
controlling bronze birch borer
Controlling Bronze Birch Borer
  • Don’t plant European White Birch
  • If only a branch or two are affected, prune and destroy branches below the visible infestation before May
  • Heavily infested trees should be cut down and destroyed
  • Spray entire tree three times at 3 week intervals starting in late May with a borer insecticide