Welcome to the Pine Ridge Estates community!
When choosing trees and shrubs for year-round privacy and screening keep in mind these tips:
■ Live Oaks and Cedar Elms are excellent tree choices. These trees are native to Texas, extremely drought tolerant and live a long time. Live Oaks are evergreen, retaining their leaves in the winter. They may grow more slowly than other trees but they are strong hard wood trees that can stand up to severe storms and winds. Cedar Elms are extremely tough and can take over watering as well as under watering. They do lose their leaves in the winter but the branching habit is still dense. When full of leaves, Cedar Elms still allow a bit of light to dapple through the canopy to your yard below. All varieties of hollies make excellent evergreen shrubs. The larger varieties such as Buford, Nellie R. Stevens, Foster, and Savannah are good for screening. The last three are more tree like.
■ Buy containerized trees and shrubs versus balled and burlapped (B&B). Did you know that a tree grown in a container will have less transplant shock and get a faster start in your landscape than a B&B tree? Most of a tree's water is absorbed through the outermost fine, hair-like roots. When a B&B tree is harvested for sale, these hardworking outer roots are cut. This "stunts" its growth until the tree can re-establish these roots. Often smaller containerized trees will catch-up with larger B&B trees and even outgrow them.
■ Plant your trees straight: Hopefully your trees will be in the ground for decades and if planted crooked they will stay crooked. So take the time to plant your trees straight.
■ Stake your trees: Stake your trees to help keep them straight as they grow strong roots that will "ground" them.
■ Unstake your trees: Trees only need to be staked for a couple of years. After that, remove the stakes and any rubber or wire you've wrapped around the tree. If you leave the rubber or wire on the tree the tree limbs can grow into the tree. This will weaken the limbs and make the limbs more likely to break off in a storm.
BASICS OF FEEDING YOUR TREES
I recommend you fertilize your tees from late February to early March. This allows the fertilizer time to breakdown and be available when the newly emerging leaves form later in March. Fertilizing will increase growth rate and the size of the tree along with keeping the tree healthy to ward off pest and diseases. I've tried and experimented with various fertilizers for over twenty-five years. The good news is with today's organic based products it's easier to do, no more digging holes or pounding in stakes, just a surface application. First, use a broadcast spreader and adjust to full opening. Apply Gardenville 7-2-2 in a circle around the drip line and slightly farther out, three times. The drip line is the ground under where the farthest tips of the branches reach and where the smaller feeder roots are. For evergreen trees (pines, live oaks, magnolias, hollies, etc.) use Texas Greensand. Texas Greensand provides iron which evergreen plant srequire to keep their green foliage through the winter months. These two products feed slowly and improve the soil for the tree's roots. Being organic based, you don't need to worry about burning the roots and you'll see an abundance of earthworm activity (nature's own little aerators). Finally, keep 'Weed and Feed' combinations containing broadleaf herbicides away from your tree's root system. Every year we have seen damage to trees from these products. Your trees are the most valuable part of your landscape. Protect your investment!
TREE SURVIVAL TIPS
■ Check the rootball of the tree for proper moisture. I've seen rootballs of trees be dry, especially container trees, while the soil adjacent was moist. Check down at least 3-4". Use a moisture meter if in doubt.
■ Container trees will use more water than balled and burlapped (B&B) since they have more roots in the rootball. Also, if the potting soil of the rootball is exposed to the air, it can dry out quicker than the adjacent soil. Mulch over it to prevent this.
■ In periods of strong winds trees lose water rapidly. Give additional water during windy periods that last more than one day.
■So who looks after the tree while you're on summer vacation? The dog or cat is taken care of, but sometimes that tree just died while people were out of town.
■ Treegator green bags can be attached around the trunk and filled with water. These can be used to water and apply Superthrive*.
■ Superthrive should be used at lease once per month. Mix one capful per gallon of water and then one gallon of mixture per caliper inch of the trunk applied on the rootball. Use as often as weekly on stressed trees.
■ Spray Garrett Juice** on the foliage and branches. This gives mild feeding of the foliage and increases stress hardiness. Mix and spray according to label directions.
■ Replenish mulch or compost around the rootball. However, don't get excessive (over 3" of material) because you can reduce the amount of air to the rootball.
■ Check the tension of guy wires if the tree is staked. Untwist the wires at the stake, tighten and re-twist. Swaying too much causes new roots to sever and lengthens tree establishment.
■ Look for signs of stress or problems. If you see abnormal growth or have concerns, give us a call or come in with a sample. We will ask a lot of questions, so the better you know your tree and what it's doing, the better we can assist.
■ Change takes place slower in trees than say annuals or perennials. If you loose leaves from drought it takes three to four weeks to generate new ones. Be patient, the first year it to establish roots.
* Superthrive is a root stimulator and feeder available at nurseries and Wal-Mart. It is sold in a very small brown bottle with a green cap and is easily overlooked.
** Garrett Juice is an organic fertilizer that is applied to foliage for quick absorption. It is available at Shades of Green in Frisco, 972-335-9095.
General Landscape Watering Guide
Summer Watering Guide (For Irrigation Systems)
Here are some general guidelines to consider and follow for summertime watering. This article will focus on proper use of an irrigation system on established landscapes. We encounter many homeowners who misunderstand their use. This article assumes no water restrictions are in place. First some watering basics:
■ It is best to soak deeply less frequently than to water a little bit every day.
■ Water in the early morning (2:00 - 6:00 a.m.) is best due to less wind and cooler
■ Properly mulched beds need less water than turf areas.
Most landscapes need one inch of water per week applied over two to three waterings. The average spray pop-up sprinkler head is designed to apply 1 - 1 1/2 inches of water if run continuously for one hour. Rotor heads that cover large areas usually apply 1/3 to 1/4 inch of water per hour.
A general guide to start with is to water twice per week at about 20-25 minutes, or three times per week at 15 minutes per station. Many systems have runoff if operated over 10 minutes, so set a shorter run time and run multiple cycles on the same day to apply the same amount of water, and allow it to soak in.
Example: Goal is to apply 15 minutes of water on one day and avoid run off:
Start time #1 4:00 a.m., run time 5 minutes
Start time #2 5:00 a.m., run time 5 minutes
Start time #3 6:00 a.m., run time 5 minutes
Remember, these are general guidelines to start with. Run your system, make observations, and adjust accordingly. Typically, side yards and mulched beds will need less water than turf areas.
You can take this one step farther by measuring each station of your system. Put out straight-sided containers or a rain gauge in each zone and ensure how much water you've collected after running the system fifteen minutes. Multiply this by four to get your inches of water per hour. Some find a lot of variance from one section to another. The knowledge gained from this exercise can save many gallons of water and pay for itself quickly.
Be sure to check your system every other week for proper coverage. A clogged nozzle will show up quickly in the lawn during our summer heat. Don't forget to take advantage of what rainfall we get in the summer. Be water wise, and you'll save yourself and your community lots of water.
We take it for granted until mandatory water rationing goes into effect.
by Rob Weir at Shades of Green
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