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Keep Your Trees Healthy

Proper watering and mulch are keys to keeping your trees healthy now and for years to come.

Create a mulch bed around your tree. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of wood chips over the soil surface. Pull the mulch away from the trunk of the tree to prevent rot and disease.

Make sure new plantings receive sufficient moisture the first few years as they become established. Dont overlook moisture lovers, evergreens and even established plants during extended dry periods.

Always moisten the top 12 inches of soil under the dripline when watering deciduous trees; and the same depth but 3 to 5 feet beyond the dripline for evergreens.

Apply 10 gallons of water for every inch diameter of trunk. For example, a 4-inch diameter tree needs 40 gallons of water. Always check soil moisture first to see if supplemental water is needed.

A bit more information: Wait a year to fertilize newly planted trees. Established trees obtain most of their nutrients from fertilizer applied to surrounding garden beds and lawns as well as leaves, mulch and clippings allowed to decompose above their extensive root system. Use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, like Milorganite, if you feel your plants need a nutrient boost. Apply fertilizer in late fall after leaf drop or early spring before growth begins for the greatest benefit.

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