I may never be stressed when looking at a tree

The first week of July is a good time to get snippy, harvest, feed and weed. You’ll also need to mow, trim and water as summer heats up. If all this sounds like a lot to do and you begin to feel stressed in any way, then take a breath and look at a tree. Yup, trees can calm you down.

The World Health Organization is promoting time in nature as the therapeutic answer to better mental health. “Ecotherapy” such as hiking, taking a walk in a park or working in the garden is being called one of the best forms of preventative medicine. If you want to give the gift of better health and less stress to future generations then make this the year you plant a tree – and the summer you care for your trees.

Here are some common tree growing questions.

Q. Can new trees to be added to the landscape in summer?

A. Yes, you can purchase a potted tree from a nursery or garden center and plant it into the ground anytime the ground is not frozen. However, you will need to dig a proper hole, plant at the correct depth, mulch and water. Trees do transplant more easily when added to the garden in spring or fall.

Q. If a tree in my yard is dead (or almost dead) is there a good time of year to cut it down? How does one remove a large, dead tree?

A. Tree removal is best done by a professional, certified arborist. Sometimes the tree is rotten from the inside. Inexperience, chain saws, axes and rotten trees can turn into a house-smashing disaster – or worse. The best time to remove a dead or sickly tree is before winter and autumn storms arrive.

Q. How do I know if my tree is healthy?

A. Call a tree doctor. They still make house calls. (OK, I stole that line from Davey Tree Company.) An arborist is a professional, trained to suggest preventative medicine to nurture healthy trees, identify problems and suggest seasonal tips even if you have healthy trees.

Q. What things affect the health of a tree?

A. Tree roots can suffer from compacted soil due to foot traffic, construction projects, heavy lawn mowers, anything that crushes roots. Trees also need room to grow and roots may run into obstacles like buildings or sidewalks.

Q. Do I need to spread fertilizer around full-grown trees? Some of my trees do not look healthy.

A. No, Mother Nature knows best and the best meal for most trees are the fallen leaves that cover their roots in the fall. An arborist can determine if your tree is suffering from a nutritional deficiency, compacted soil, lack of water, poor drainage, pests or a disease. Trees that are struggling to grow are more susceptible to pests and disease so keeping your trees healthy is the best defense against future problems.

So go out on a limb and pay more attention to our beautiful trees. In Western Washington we may take all our tall trees for granted but visitors to our area are always impressed – and a lot less stressed.

• • •

Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and several other books. For book requests or answers to gardening questions, write to her at: P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply.

For more gardening information, she can be reached at her Web site, www.binettigarden.com.

Copyright for this column

owned by Marianne Binetti.

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