1. Water: Over watering as well as under watering are the main contributors to tree death.
A deep cycle is the best watering deeply at one time to saturate the soil. However we are usually working in an environment where our lawn sprinklers are doing the watering.
It is important to pay attention to the saturation point (where you see puddling) and back down the number of settings (not necessarily the time i.e. 45 minute set).
Trees need macro pores or airspace in the soil to be healthy - if we fill that airspace with water continually the tree suffocates.
Give them a long soak with soaker hoses so the water trickles down through the root mass.
Exactly how long depends on your type of soil and the soils water holding capacity. Sand and gravel will not hold the water long whereas clay will hold the water for a very long time.
To determine your watering schedule you HAVE to do a water meter probe test.
Simply purchase a cheap potted plant water meter like this
Understand that tree roots are shallow
Check it every day for a week to see what your watering is really doing and how long your soil holds water.
A young tree with fewer roots needs more care and attention whereas a large tree can use a couple of deep soaks a month.
Often we see trees planted in a low area of the lawn where water run off is actually flooding and suffocating the tree's root system. There is a solution for this by doing what is called radial trenching which moves the water off the roots. The Tree Analysis will address this if you're not sure about the amount of water your trees are getting.
2. Trunk and Root Care: The trunk flare needs to be exposed. This is an important cell structure transferring from ground to air. Too often we see trees planted too deep or dirt mounded up around the trunk. Roots need OXYGEN - this is critical. Compacting the soil over roots, flooding and clay sol can suffocate roots.
Tree trunk damage; the living tissue and arterial support is actually just under the bark in an area called the cambium, if you wrap a plastic string around the trunk or go around it with a line trimmer it is like cutting your main arteries. Click Here and watch the video
If there is a wound the tree compartmentalizes that area to shut out disease, fungus and insects. You can help the tree with this process.
CRITICAL root zone repair...what is an airspade and how do we use it to help trees?
3. Pruning: The most abuse we humans do to trees is to prune them once every five years - a juvenile tree should only have 20% of it's canopy pruned and a mature tree should be 10% or LESS. Yet we wait five to ten years then cut major limbs off shortening the life span of the tree dramatically.
Proper pruning should be done a little bit each year just as nature breaks off dead limbs and weak limbs every year. The best way to keep your tree healthy is to have a five year plan to prune a little bit each year. The bill or time for pruning is certainly less and the tree will thank you for not butchering it. Email me below if you want to set a 5 year pruning plan to follow.
When should you decide to no do it yourself and have a larger company do the work Good Video
4. Fertilizer: To keep our grass green we use a lot of Nitrogen - however too much nitrogen can have bad effects on trees. You need to use a Tree balanced fertilizer that promotes root growth. The type of soil you have (ph, clay, sand etc.) plays the biggest part of knowing what fertilizer to use.
I use a three part Save-A-Tree (Thrive in Zamzow stores), Organic Tea (see link here), and a true Tree Fertilizer with the correct minors for this soil. The results are fantastic.
5. Insect and Disease Control: Identifying the problem is critical to know what product to use and when. Timing is just as important as application (i.e. drench in the fall etc.). My experience with home owner help is to be careful of only using online photos - take in the entire environment the tree is experiencing when diagnosing.
What about those annoying suckers?
I have no idea why this photo will not load straight up but turn your lap top sideways:)
Sucker Stopper is expensive but you can simply spray new suckers and it will save a lot of trouble.
Timing is everything when it comes to keeping the worms (nice word for moth maggots) and disease out of your fruit production. This is one place organic practices are limited so we will focus on orchard practices but the links do have organic suggestions.
You will find it difficult to get commercial spray companies to commit to fruit tree spray due to the fact there usually are very few trees to spray (not enough dollars to pay for the gas and labor to get there) and it all has to be done in a limited number of days; so if you have 200 customers it is impossible to get to all of them within a few days; then books such as your ORTHO describe a regiment of spraying every 10 days up to the harvest interval (such as 20 prior to harvest). That is a lot of spraying every couple of weeks which can get expensive for the customer. I will do it for you but I try to help my clients and friends budgets in every way I can.
Back Pack Sprayer Reviews
Note that we go after the moth or fly laying the larvae eggs; once in the fruit, spray will not stop them and I am no fan of putting imidicloprid systemic into what we eat!
I will put in excerpts below to make it easy to find the information then the complete articles from the university and extension sources will be linked below for those that want to read it in detail:
APPLE and PEAR
For the Home Orchard stopping the Coddling Moth (biggest worm problem) Apply the first spray to Apple and Pear Trees from May 25 to May 30th. Most of you who know me well know that I always say depending on weather - although the extention office gives us an exact date it still is weather dependent but this is a good guide line. Second spray indicater is 10 days after full petal fall or 17 to 21 days after full bloom.
Malathion or Permethrin is very effective, available at your local farm store, often labeled as fruit tree spray Example Link
Complete Link Information from UI
Excellent in-depth of how to spray and a list of nearly all fruit tree issues and how and when to spray
Link here - don't be overwhelmed with all the technical information, simply read through for your specific situation.
I'll gladly come out and help you get started (keep in mind I have to get paid pay for my time which is a $39 minimum stop and or $35 an hour) or I can do the application for you at $39 and show you at that time.
I love this this blog and site for great wisdom on Organic methods. Here is a great video
Click for Organic Solution