“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”
As the spring planting season is quickly approaching, one can not underestimate the value of including trees in the landscape. Now is the time to consider new tree planting and pruning existing trees. Nothing else you can plant will have the presence and character of a tree. Before any tree is to be planted in your landscape, careful thought must be given to the choice and placement of the tree. Unlike annuals, perennials, or shrubs, trees are the largest and most permanent plants you can grow. Colorado’s climate and soil structure will play an important role in selecting the right tree. The Creek Side Green Team can assist you in answering your questions and selection of the tree that will fit your landscape needs and how to plant it. Creek Side carries a variety of flowering, shade and evergreen trees. A complete list of trees suitable for Colorado can be found at the Colorado Tree Coalition website www.coloradotrees.org.
Late Winter (Mid-February until early March) is the best time to prune most trees. Trees are still dormant at this time of year and, unlike in early winter, wound closure will be rapid if pruning occurs just prior to the time new growth emerges. “By being proactive and pruning now, homeowners can help maintain the long-term health, appearance and safety of their trees,” says Keith Wood, community forestry program manager for the Colorado State Forest Service. Wood adds that although some elms, maples, birch and walnut trees may visibly exude sap if pruned in the late winter or early spring, this should not harm the tree. The CSFS offers the following tree pruning tips:
- Know what you want to accomplish before you saw.
- Don’t remove any branches without a reason.
- Remove any torn, dead or broken branches.
- Try to develop or maintain one dominant vertical top stem, or leader, and don’t cut off the tops of trees.
- Space the main branches along the trunk, and prevent branches below the permanent canopy from growing upright or too large.
- Always prune just outside the branch collar – the point where one branch leaves a larger one (or the trunk), often discerned by raised or wrinkled bark.
- Limit pruning of newly planted trees to the removal of dead, damaged or crossing limbs, or those interfering with the main stem.
- Avoid removing more than 25 percent of a tree’s branches in any one year.
- If a job requires running a chainsaw overhead or removing large branches or entire trees,it is best to contact an insured, certified arborist.