For questions about trees: selection, planting, care, diagnosis, pruning, identification, etc.

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6
votes
1answer
766 views

Cedar Hedge drying from the inside

We planted a cedar hedge this spring (4 months or so ago). The trees were fine this summer, some of them had one or two dried branches; nothing out of ordinary. At the end of the summer, some trees ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Raised bed around tree. Do I need to protect the trunk?

I wanted to put in some raised beds that are about 1' deep above ground, and that wrap circularly around a Northern Arizona cedar tree. Do I need to plastic or a rock/cage around the tree trunk to ...
6
votes
4answers
390 views

Are my Emerald Arborvitaes recoverable?

I bought 31 thujas a couple of months ago and some of them are really struggling. I installed a drip line a week ago, but am wondering if these trees are completely dead. Here are a bunch of ...
9
votes
2answers
488 views

What is a sucker and how does it differ from a water sprout or branch?

In a post about renovating mature pear trees there is a diagram (below) showing tree nomenclature as it pertains to pruning. In it, the letter "A" indicates suckers, and "E" marks shaded interior ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I kill this salt cedar?

The front yard of my New Mexico (USDA zone 7a) house has a salt cedar (Tamarix ramosissima), which is growing like a huge bush. Its salt uptake appears to be preventing anything else in the vicinity ...
5
votes
1answer
517 views

What is the term for this pruning technique that causes stubby, clublike branches?

These Platanus × acerifolia trees (London Planetree) were pruned to have this short, stubby branch structure. What is this called, and how is is done?
19
votes
6answers
465 views

How can I naturally encourage birds into my garden?

We love having our garden filled with birds, thus we have put up a variety of bird feeders. We also make lots of water available for the birds. The result is a 2½ year old that can identify about ...
9
votes
3answers
8k views

How should I prune this overgrown pear tree?

I have a pear tree, which is very zealous. Whatever it decides to do, it does in excess. First in the spring it sends out all sorts of new branches--all of them vertical. I snipped them off after they ...
8
votes
2answers
33k views

How far will pine tree roots spread?

I have a very tall pine tree in front of my house. I am about to start work digging up my downstairs floor and re-doing it. I'm just wandering if before I start I should look further into the roots of ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What time of year to mulch/feed trees?

This answer recommends putting down a layer of compost mulch in the fall in order to slowly feed the tree. (In addition to the unmentioned weed control and moisture regulation.) It makes sense to me -...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

Will it kill my potted tree if I use tree fertilizer spikes?

I recently bought some tree fertilizer spikes to feed my potted dwarf kumquat and lime trees. After I got them home, I read the following warning on the side of the box: NOTE: Never apply within 30" ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

How should I prune an overgrown peach tree?

I have just moved into a home with a peach tree that appears healthy, but overgrown; it has clearly not been pruned in many years (although I have cut out some of the branches that made it impossible ...
12
votes
1answer
36k views

What is the average lifespan of most maple trees?

In general how long do maple trees live? Does the lifespan vary a lot according to species? I'm thinking of planting a few in my yard and I'm wondering how long they will be around.
11
votes
2answers
944 views

Should trees be staked when they are planted?

Horticultural practices do change and research can be a driving force. It wasn't too long ago that standard practice to stake a new tree was a six foot T bar and and a strand of wire. Should all ...
11
votes
1answer
812 views

What are these brown, cap-shaped mushrooms on my birch tree?

I live in Massachusetts and have several birch trees in my yard. One of them has brown, cap-shaped mushrooms growing in groups up and down the trunk. As you can see, the tree has a big crack in the ...
7
votes
3answers
564 views

Is this an Oak Tree?

I've got this tree down in my back yard and I cannot figure out what type it is. The bark looks like Oak but the leaves I'm not sure about. There have been no nuts/acorns drop from it that have been ...
5
votes
4answers
9k views

Is my tree too close to my house?

I have an ornamental cherry tree approximately 30 ft tall, which is now close enough to my house that I could touch it from my window. I would like to keep it , but am concerned it will damage my ...
5
votes
2answers
505 views

What is 'Apical Dominance'?

When pruning trees, most notably conifers, you must be aware of a phenomenon known as 'apical dominance', when choosing your pruning technique, and selecting shoots for the permanent structure. What ...
3
votes
1answer
174 views

Staking a Weeping Willow

My mother has always wanted a weeping willow and we have a nice spot that won't hold water, but the majority of run-off water from the yard flows past it. So I bought her one and planted it. I babied ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

How to heal this needled plant?

This little guy is suffering and I'm not sure how to help him out. Any ideas?
17
votes
2answers
71k views

Can I cut off exposed tree roots without harming the tree?

Large trees often have roots protruding out of the ground around the base of the trunk (such as the ones that can push up sidewalks next to the tree). When is it safe to cut those roots (that might be ...
14
votes
4answers
60k views

How far (on average) do tree roots extend out from the base of the tree?

I a looking to plot out my new garden site for next year and am wondering how far I need to be away from some nearby trees. The trees are a few different types (apple, oak, pine etc.) and anywhere ...
5
votes
1answer
152 views

What kind of tree is this?

I obtained this small tree from a friend. It has spiky, shiny leaves, soft to the touch, and delicate stems. New leaves are lime green, gradually darkening as they grow larger. Older leaves are broad ...
24
votes
5answers
4k views

What is a fast-growing deciduous tree for shading house in summer? (Long Island, NY)

My town recently took down a large 80 year old maple tree that sat on the south side of my house. Unfortunately that tree provided much-needed shade and now I have already noticed very high ...
15
votes
1answer
37k views

How do you tell if a tree is male or female?

I was reading through some of the questions on fruit trees, because I've been thinking about getting some blueberry bushes and cherry trees, and I see a lot of people mentioning that the trees don't ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Should I remove the tree roots coming from the neighbouring garden?

When I was digging out* a patch to grow veggies earlier in the spring I found big roots in the soil unconnected to anything in our garden. It looks like they're coming from some kind of palm trees ...
13
votes
1answer
288 views

What is the risk of soil contamination via leaf mulch/compost?

Soil in the city I live in is quite often contaminated with nasty things like arsenic and lead. Levels are sometimes twice or more what's considered acceptable. For this reason, people usually ...
11
votes
2answers
398 views

Hexagonal bush?

I have seen the pictured bush today when hiking around Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. From a distance, hexagonal patterns are visible: Adjacent branches grow in an almost perfect 45° angle relative to ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I grow maple trees from seeds?

I have a mature maple tree in my yard. Every year it drops seeds which start growing in the most inconvenient of places, like my gutters. Next season I would like to actively cultivate these seeds and ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

How do I keep oak trees from sprouting?

I have a lot of nice sized oak trees. I have pin, black, and chestnut. Every once in a while one of them puts out sprouts all over the trunk and starts looking like a green pillar. How do I keep that ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

Is it a good idea to build a paver patio near a large established tree?

I would like to build a paver patio next to a large tree that has a 3" wide root at ground level. I do not want to damage the roots of the tree, so it seems like my only option is to build a raised ...
5
votes
2answers
14k views

How can I get lemon trees to bear fruit?

I have a couple of lemon trees (small plants really) in my garden. But they seem to grow at an awfully slow pace.They are about 2 years old & about 3/4 ft in height. I have seen pictures of lemon ...
5
votes
1answer
280 views

Which end is up when planting a mango seed?

I have a seed that has already germinated. I've had it in water for a day and it has already grown some in the water. One end has a slight purple color to it, the other one is long and white. Which ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Bay Leaf Tree (Laurus Nobilis) with severe scale

I'm new to gardening as I have just bought my first house. I inherited a very large (about 6m tall) Bay tree that is severely sick. I took a sample to my local garden center and I was told that it ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

Part of fruit cocktail tree has died

I have a fruit cocktail tree that I planted on 1 June 2013, around 9 to 10 weeks ago, and one of the 3 grafted branches appears to have died. The tree originated from Dave Wilson Nursery. Here is an ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

Why does my apple tree not bear fruit?

I currently live in southern Massachusetts. When an apple tree in my backyard blossoms and the little apples begin to show, they all disappear and begin to fall on the ground. FYI, there are also inch-...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I control fire ants in the mulch around my tree?

I live in Houston, TX, USA and fire ants are a nearly year long concern. I have had success treating mounds with Orthene as they appear. However, I had a Siberian Elm in my backyard that was ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Fig tree mystery worm problem

A friend has a fig tree which seems to be the target of a worm. As far as I can see the leaves and fruit do not have any bite marks or worms/insects inside them, but the fruit born was less this year, ...
27
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I revive a tree that's been stripped of bark?

I've got what I think is a cedar tree in my backyard that is missing most of its bark on one side from the ground to about 4' up. (Thanks to my puppy who is a shredding machine.) The branches next to ...
13
votes
1answer
296 views

How are Japanese Maple Trees cultivated?

I have mature Japanese maple trees in my yard that are extremely fertile. I find dozens, if not hundreds of saplings all over the yard. Some have even grown several feet tall. Is there a way I can ...
10
votes
1answer
180 views

How should I choose which trees to cull?

I harvest firewood from a small woodlot behind my house. I almost exclusively cut "culls" -- dead, dying, or diseased trees that aren't going to yield much additional wood in the future anyway. My ...
10
votes
2answers
884 views

How to deal with invasive Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven)

My neighbors have a great tall Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven). Apparently, before I moved into my house, so did our yard. We now have an enormous stump and a bazillion new shoots that come up from ...
10
votes
1answer
718 views

What causes spruce branches to drop their needles?

I have a spruce tree that has a problem. Every year, some branches suddenly drop all of their green needles and die. I would like to prevent this, but I don't know what the cause is. What causes this ...
8
votes
3answers
343 views

City wants to remove our White Pines - how should we respond?

We planted White Pine trees 4 years ago they now stand 3 foot high. The city would like us to remove them because they are 6 foot from the street and sewer lines. We feel these trees will never ...
8
votes
1answer
589 views

What does 'standard' mean when referring to shrubs and vines?

I often see shrubs and vines for sale labeled as 'standards'. What does that mean? Examples: Roses Rose of Sharon Trumpet Vine Wisteria And so on.
7
votes
2answers
124 views

What is this large tree with many suckers growing from the trunk?

Can anyone help me identify the following tree? It has large leaves and a number of new sections (suckers) growing from the trunk. Any help would be gratefully received. *Note: This may be a similar ...
7
votes
1answer
205 views

Is this a tiny Bloodgood maple sapling? How should I care for it?

While mowing the lawn yesterday, my husband stumbled across this tiny plant. It's barely two inches tall. Some people down the street have a beautiful large tree that looks like a Bloodgood maple, and ...
7
votes
2answers
219 views

Renovating mature pear trees

Of the descriptions about renovating mature fruit trees these two seem useful: Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet - Pruning Mature Apples and Pears & Fedco Trees Tips for Renovating Old ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

How to care for a large redwood?

I just bought a home in the CA bay area. My front yard is dominated by a large redwood tree that seems in good health. I really love the way it looks. By large I mean 5-6 stories in height, planted ...
6
votes
3answers
329 views

What are the green shoots coming out from under my tree?

I just moved into my first house, :) and I have two big bushy trees in the front yard. (I'm unsure of the identification for them. Anyone know?) At one time it looks like they were lanscaped, but ...