Pruning, a never-ending job! Tree pruning used to be summed up with the following question: “When is the best time to prune?” Answer: “When the saw is sharp.” Pruning has come a little further than that, although it still pays to have a sharp saw. A few basic things must be kept in mind before the “when-to-prune” question can be answered:
Why are you pruning?
Health (i.e., dead limb, diseased limb)
Clearance (i.e. for mowing under the tree)
Damage (i.e. storm)
What kind of tree are you pruning?
Never prune elm or oak in the spring and summer because of the susceptibility to disease (Dutch Elm Disease and Oak Wilt).
Birch, Maple and Black Walnut, to name a few trees, will run sap in March. Prune in late Fall and early Winter.
Prune fruit trees in late Winter. Attempt to open up the middle of the tree to allow more sunlight in.
How much should you prune?
Never prune more than 1/4 of the live crown. To do so would encourage extensive sucker growth which just requires you to prune even more the next year.
When should you avoid pruning?
Probably the worst time to prune is just after leaf-out, when the tree has expended a large percentage of its energy reserve. Tremendous stress will occur to the tree by requiring it to re-leaf, thus exposing the plant to insects and disease.
Who does prune boulevard trees?
The City takes responsibility for pruning boulevard trees. Homeowners are not responsible for pruning boulevard trees. If a contractor solicits you to prune a boulevard tree, you should refuse the service and report the name/address of the contractor to the City by calling 234-4459. If you have any question whether a tree is on the boulevard or on your property, please contact Forestry.
Have questions? Call the Forestry Department at 234-4459.
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As sure as the Spring and Summer storms come, so does the damage to our trees. If you experience damage to your boulevard trees due to a severe storm, the City will pick up and dispose of those limbs and branches. You may call your boulevard storm damage in to the Street Department at 234-4219. If you experience damage to private yard trees, the CreekSide Organic Compost Facility is available free of charge for you to dispose of your tree material.
Boulevard Tree Planting Schedule
The City does plant boulevard trees each year in Hutchinson. Areas with no trees on the boulevards are placed on a schedule for planting. If you have questions as to your particular boulevard, please call the Forestry Department at 234-4459.
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Planting a New Tree or Shrub
For best results, strip away all sod to a depth of 2-3 inches and to the diameter you plan on covering with wood chips. This diameter for the chips should be at least 2-3 feet larger than the hole diameter you plan on digging to plant your new tree or shrub. The wider the hole and the larger the mulched diameter, the better. For additional weed control a porous landscape fabric, which allows for air and water exchange, may be put down before the chip mulch.
Wood chip mulch is easily applied with regular garden tools. Simply put down 3-4 inches of chips, level off, and tap lightly, pulling chips away from trunk slightly. There is no need to use plastic sheets under the mulch. This is often detrimental to plant health.
Newly planted trees do their best if they receive adequate watering every week to 10 days during dry conditions. Know your soil type – clay or loam – and adjust the watering schedule. You will know when you have applied enough water around your tree – when the water begins to stand in the water basin for a minute or so. Remember, deep infrequent watering is ideal for trees and normal lawn water by itself often does not provide enough water for woody root development. Be cautious of new sod and new trees. New sod needs a lot of water, often times to the detriment of the new trees by over watering.
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WHAT IS A BUCKTHORN?
Miller Woods Oak Savannah is in the process of being renovated from a farm pasture to an oak / prairie interface type of ecosystem. However, in the process of rejuvenating this slowly changing woodland, the problem of a very invasive plant called Buckthorn has now shown us what it can do.
Buckthorn is a shrub about 5-10 feet tall that slowly invades woodlands and eliminates all other native plant materials.
It is spread by birds and can completely take over a site.
It was introduced from Europe in the late 1800’s. It is hard to control.
If you see this plant contact the Forestry Department at 234-4459 for details on how you might control it in your yard.
A Major Pest of Trees
The Gypsy moth is a foreign insect that has become one of the most important forest pests in the United States. Although harmless in the moth stage, the caterpillars feed on the leaves of shrubs and trees. Two or more defoliations can kill many types of hardwoods. Minnesota has collected Gypsy moths and even McLeod County has caught moths. We must be conscience of it becoming a problem here in Hutchinson.
Be on the lookout for this insect and if you suspect you have a defoliating insect that looks like the Gypsy moth, call the Forestry Department at 234-4459.
DUTCH ELM DISEASE
Here are a few ways to ensure that your Elms or your neighbor’s Elms have a better chance of surviving:
Any Elm firewood with bark intact is dangerous to other Elms. Debark or burn the firewood by April 1st.
Notify the City Natural Resource Specialist of yellow leaves in the upper crown of Elm trees, especially in mid-June and July.
Notify the City Natural Resource Specialist of any Elms that do not leaf out by May 20th.
Every set of eyes looking for diseased Elms is a great help. Mature trees are a valuable asset. Keeping them as long as we can is nothing more than common sense.
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EAB (Emerald ash borer)
MN Department of Natural Resources - EAB is in MN
The one-stop web site for tapping into tree expertise!
Colorado State University Extension
International Society of Arboriculture - Trees Are Good!
University of MN Extension
University of MN Forest Resources Extension - My Minnesota Woods