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Archive for Thursday, February 25, 1999

SOME EASY-TO-REMEMBER TIPS FOR PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS

February 25, 1999

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City landscape and forestry supervisors have a few tips on planting and maintaining trees.

Anytime the ground isn't frozen outside, it's a good time to plant a tree.

Crystal Miles, landscape supervisor for Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, and Jim Beebe, the city's forestry supervisor, know the best ways to plant and maintain trees.

Miles said she recommends digging up the soil at least six inches wider than the tree being planted. Remove any containers and pull back burlap before putting the tree in the ground.

"Plant the tree at the same depth it was planted at the nursery," Miles said. "Dig a whole just enough to plant the tree."

Miles said not to use fertilizer or peat moss in the soil.

"You want the tree to acclimate to the soil it is in," she said.

Using some compost is OK. After that, fill the hole and put a couple inches of mulch on top of the soil.

"You don't want to settle the soil, you just want to pack it down," she said.

Newly planted trees shouldn't be pruned for a year or two, she said, unless there is some pressing problem or dead wood.

"It ought to be watered at least twice a week," Beebe said.

Beebe summed up tree care in a few words.

"Put them in the ground and water them," he said. "Prune when you think they need it."

The early spring and winter are good times to prune trees; not the middle of the summer.

"It puts a lot of stress on the tree," he said. "It can put the tree into shock."

When pruning, Beebe said to clip any dead limbs and any "crossers," or limbs that lay across one another.

"They rub," Beebe said. "That opens up a wound for insects to get into."

He discourages topping trees; he said that the later growth is weak.

If you prune your trees and have a load of branches to get rid off, Beebe might be able to help. From April to November, the forestry division at 1110 Haskell takes yard debris for $2 a truckload a few Saturdays a month. They grind it up into mulch.

"We chip everything," he said. "Here we can reuse it. ... Nothing really goes to the landfill anymore."

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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