General Tree & Plant Maintenance
WRAPPING OR PAINTING TRUNKS
Wrapping or painting of trunks on younger trees is done to prevent sunburn or scorching of the trunk that is exposed to the sun. As the tree grows, the "skin" of the trunk gradually forms bark which insulates better against the sun. At the same time, the canopy of the tree becomes wider and blocks the sun from reaching the trunk of the tree. Once these have occurred, it isn't necessary to wrap or paint. This usually takes 2 to 3 years for most trees.
If you keep the canopy of your existing trees trimmed high enough that the sun hits the trunk, we recommend wrapping during the summer months. Any light colored cloth material or light colored, water based latex paint will suffice. For best results, use professional tree wrap, available at Moon Valley Nurseries.
STAKING / BRACING
Most trees come from the nursery with a single growing stake. This provides some support against wind, but is mainly used to keep the trunk straight while in growing yard conditions.
After planting, the single stake will suffice for 3 to 6 months of growth. At which time we recommend switching to a double stake harness for the next year or so. This provides a looser support, which allows the tree to move somewhat, while still preventing damage in normal wind conditions. Staking isn't necessary for all trees. Most palms and smaller slow growing trees like citrus usually don't require any stakes. Double staking is available at time of purchase, from Moon Valley Nursery, for a small fee or if you want to do it yourself, click here for double staking instructions.
TRIMMING / PRUNING
Pruning newer trees, during the first couple of years is mostly done for appearance. Keep the tree looking as you want it to as it grows. For grafted trees, be sure to cut off any growth that may come out below or near the graft at the base of the tree. The best times to prune are mid to late spring and early fall. Never prune new trees during the heat of the summer.
Also, a good rule of thumb is to use pruning sealer any time you cut branches that are inch in diameter or larger (about as thick as your thumb). This helps prevent cracking and possible insect intrusion until the cut heals over. Always wear leather gloves when pruning or trimming. This prevents damage to your hands from thorns, rough branches or accidental contact with the pruning blades.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR TREES
Throughout the life of your trees, it is important to pay attention for signs that your tree may be experiencing difficulties. Anything that is abnormal could be a sign that corrective measures need to be taken. Wilting leaves or heavy leaf loss can be a sign of lack of water. If soil at the base of the tree is always muddy, this may be too much water. Sporadic yellowing or spotting on the leaves may be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Abnormal damage to leaves or trunk of tree may be due to insect damage. If you have any concerns regarding your trees or plants, it’s best to get a solution sooner than later. Should you notice any symptoms similar to the ones above, call your closest Moon Valley Nursery for assistance.