Gardening with Laurie: Time to prune, relocate trees
December is a great time to take a stroll around your yard and think about changes you might want to make or correct.
Notice any trees that are not planted where you want them? This would be the best time to transplant trees or shrubs that might be happier in another location.
Transplanting now and not during warm months will be easier on the plants to become better established.
Cool or cold weather is a good time to prune deciduous or evergreen trees. Now is especially easier to prune on deciduous types. It will be easier to see the true structure of the tree without leaves. Plus, you won't have the weight of the fully leafed limbs to contend with.
If you have noticed scale on any of your trees, now would be a good time to spray the tree with an all-season oil to control these pests. You'll need to make several applications about a week apart. Do not spray before a freeze is predicted; hold off for a few days.
If moving a tree to a different location in your landscape, have the new hole ready first. For best results, you want the tree to be transplanted as soon as it comes out of the ground. Have the new hole dug out only as deep as the rootball you plan to dig and only several inches wider.
Get as much of the root system as possible when digging up the tree. A common rule of thumb is to measure the trunk diameter at about 12 inches up from the ground level and then dig a rootball that is about 9 inches across for every inch of that diameter. A 9-inch diameter tree trunk would only need a rootball that is 9 inches wide.
If the soil is really dry, lightly water the area before digging to help prevent dry soil from falling away from the roots as it is is being dug out. If you're not immediately replanting the tree, be sure to wrap the root system to prevent it from drying out.
When planting the tree, first sprinkle the inside of the hole with some of your Rocket Fuel root stimulator and then place the rootball in the hole, making sure it is planted at the same depth as in the original location.
Break up the soil that was removed from the hole and then add it back to fill in over the roots and all around the rootball. Slowly water the hole and add more soil as needed and as the soil settles in the hole. Do not to have dirt above the roots' flare.
Spread a quarter to a half an inch of compost on top of the planting hole along with an inch or more of mulch, making sure to stay a couple of inches away from the trunk. This along with regular watering should get the tree off to a good start in its new location.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.