Sunday, April 18, 2010
 This post will center mainly on the Conifers such as Spruces and Firs. First I would like to give you some explanation for the shape of the aforementioned types. Nature gave them their conical shape for a reason. This shape sheds snow very well and can still hold a large amount of snow on its branches. The tree's branches are distributed in such a manner that each one can help support the one above it. So when it snows there is a cascading effect. The snow weighs down an upper branch that rests and is supported by the one below it and this continues until the bottom branch is reached and it rests on the ground. This information is key and its significance will be more evident in the list of Do's and Don'ts. See the accompanying photos of my own Blue Spruce, pictured above. Conifers unlike deciduous trees do not hibernate in winter. They will slow down their metabolism to react to reduced sunlight but they maintain their Chlorophyll levels year round. That is why it is crucial to fertilize them in the beginning of the growing season in early Spring. I recommend evergreen fertilizer spikes. For more information you can visit an article I wrote on Miracle-Gro Evergreen Fertilizer Spikes. There are other manufacturers available, this is just one that I have had good results with. The healthier a tree is going into the fall, the better it will be able to handle the harsh months of Winter. Pruning is crucial to the health of your trees. Pruning removes any dead material, it encourages the growth of new branches, and helps the tree keep its conical shape. In order for a tree to properly shed snowfall it must have a conical shape that extends all the way to the ground. if a branch is missing or the bottom branches have been removed there is nothing for the branches above to rest upon and this creates excessive stress in those branches. This can lead to unnecessary limb damage. Pictured is a prime example of bottom cutting or "Girdling".
Here I will attempt to provide some Do's and Don'ts as guidelines for care and maintenance of your evergreens.





Do's


1. Prune in the fall before the first frost.
2. Maintain conical shape of the tree.
3. Fertilize in spring with evergreen fertilizer spikes.


Don'ts


1. Do not trim bottom branches off of tree. When laying out your landscape plan provide enough space around the base of the tree so that the spread can touch the ground. Also be aware of what is above the prospective planting site, such as power lines. Note the picture in this post.
2. Evergreens are sun lovers, plan for the future, do not plant them where surrounding trees could begin to shade them.
3. Do not prune a fat squat looking cone, rather prune a slender cone at approximately 60 Degrees. See pictured examples.




This post may leave you with some questions. Please do not hesitate to ask questions in comments. I will reply always with the most accurate answer I can give you.

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