Trees need to be protected to stay healthy and strong. Ensure you take the necessary steps to keep installed trees healthy for years to come. This is also an opportunity for you to create residual business.
Go through the prep work needed before planting, including calling your local utilities DIG line to check all utilities in the planting area are clearly marked prior to beginning work. Ensure you are planting species likely to thrive in your customers’ geography. Check USDA zones before having customers commit to certain plants.
Check there will be enough room for its full canopy and mature root system. Avoid being close to utility lines, foundations, and the roof of the home. Planting too deep is a common problem, so ensure you follow the correct planting procedure for the soil and tree type.
Don’t forget to water. Newly planted trees should be watered immediately, and the root ball should be fully saturated. Be careful, as too much watering can cause root rot, and not enough water can stunt growth or even kill the tree. Monitor with local rainfall to be sure the balance is kept. New trees require two gallons of water per caliper inch diameter per day until the roots are established. Water regularly for a minimum of six months, giving enough time for roots to penetrate the soil. Check clients’ mature trees as well during maintenance visits, as they need at least one inch of water a week.
Test your soil before planting to understand how to properly amend the soil. The test results will guide you to all the products you may need to balance soil acidity, fertility, and macro and micronutrients. Select a product that helps cover the proper deficiencies to start your new plantings off right. Recognize that trees share the soil with other landscaping, such as flower beds and turf, which all compete for the nutrients. Ensure you balance the needs of the turf and landscaping with the needs of the tree.
Consider using a soil optimizer like LESCO CarbonPro-G. This will increase beneficial microbial populations, increase nutrient uptake, increase nutrient utilization efficiency, increase root mass, reduce water requirements, and mitigates environmental stressors. Apply 2-5 pounds per caliper inch around the base of the tree or incorporate into the planting mix/soil.
Another product to consider when using LESCO® CarbonPro-G is Mirimichi Green’s Nutri-Tree & Shrub, a liquid fertilizer that gets absorbed through both the roots and the leaves. Apply the Carbon Pro G and the Nutri-Tree & Shrub at installation, then 1-4 times per year, depending on tree conditions.
Proper mulching can help reduce soil moisture loss, control weeds, and insulate soil from extreme temperatures. If overapplied, this could have a negative impact on the tree. Mulch should not exceed a few inches in depth and room should be left around the base of the tree for proper air circulation.
Proper pruning improves tree structure and should be done when seasonally appropriate for the tree species. Deadwood can hold trees back from growing. Major pruning should be done in the winter when the tree is dormant, as ideally the tree should not have leaves. During the summertime, you can focus on clearing out smaller areas, like crossing, dead, or damaged branches.
Provide regular checkups for your customers and have them reach out if they notice any signs of decline. Spotting disease early is crucial to tree health, so communicate what disease might look like to your customers. They should keep an eye out for discolored leaves, cankers, split bark, or insect activity.
If any damage is seen during a maintenance visit, you may need to apply fungicides, insecticides, injectables like Arborjet, and/or fix structural damage with corrective pruning.
Avoiding Pests and Diseases
There are many pests that can cause damage and disease to your clients’ trees. For long term prevention, develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.
Monitor trees regularly for pests. Early detection is key for control. When planting trees, select species that are locally resistant to insects and diseases.
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