Proper tree care is vital to a healthy and long-lived tree. Care includes proper watering, pruning, and disease treatment. The following is a list of frequently asked questions and answers. If you do not see your question, please call our office at 307-235-8283, we will be happy to help.
If you are uncomfortable pruning your own tree, you should seek the help of a certified arborist. Find a certified arborist by visiting www.isa-arbor.com
A Wyoming Tree Owner's Manual is also available for download from the Wyoming State Forestry Division.
Q1. How do I prune my tree?
Answer: Most pruning should be done when the tree is dormant. If pruning must be done when the tree is not dormant it should not happen in the spring during bud break. No more than 1/3 of live foliage should be pruned in a growing season. Evergreens can be pruned all year, but during winter is best. If you do not have the proper tools or need higher pruning it is best to hire a certified arborist.
Q2. Can I grow plants or have a garden under my tree?
Answer: Many varieties of shade loving plants do well under trees. Older, mature trees are better for gardens than young trees that need less competition for water and nutrients. Do not use rototillers in these areas as this equipment can harm tree roots. Also, be careful to not damage roots with shovels and other garden implements. Some species of trees such as black walnuts, emit a chemical that inhibits growth of other plants underneath it.
Q3. I want to hang a sign, a decoration, build a tree house, or use my tree as a fence post. Can I do this without hurting my tree?
Answer: It is never advisable to drive nails into a tree. This can cause damage to the tree. These holes can introduce insects and disease into the tree. Although your tree may not show signs of distress right away, damage can shorten the life span of the tree. This can also cause safety hazards in the tree if nails and other object embed themselves-- chainsaws can hit these objects.
Q4. Should I paint my tree's pruning cut wounds?
Answer: No. Research has not shown that wound paint helps the tree's response to the pruning cut. In fact, paint may inhibit the trees ability to protect itself from insects or other organisms that may cause disease. Tree do not heal like humans, so placing a "band aid" or substance over the wound does not actually help.
Q5. How do you tell if your tree needs water?
Answer: The leaves will most likely have browning along the edges and tips. Just like houseplants, tree leaves will wilt when they need water. Tree leaves will also curl up when a tree needs water. In pine trees, the tips of the needles will turn brown and slowly brown to the stem. Sometimes during long periods of drought, the leaves may be smaller than normal.
Q6. Is my lawn irrigation system enough to water my tree?
Answer: In most cases, no. Tree roots are deeper in the soil than grass roots. Trees need to be deep watered infrequently. Most lawn irrigation systems water shallow and frequently. Just because your grass is green, doesn't mean your tree is getting enough water. Frequent shallow watering can encourage tree surface roots which can become a problem as a tree matures.
Q7. Is the tree in Washington Park that is leaning falling over?
Answer: No. This tree was planted, the predominate wind caused the tree to lean. The root system grew in the opposite direction to support the lean. If you look at the top of the tree, it is growing straight up. As long as the tree is healthy and there is no cracking in the ground indicating root movement, the tree will be fine.
Q8. Should I mulch around my tree?
Answer: Yes. Mulch helps retain moisture and protect your tree from accidental damage from mowers and trimmers. A good distance is 3 feet from the trunk all the way around the tree. Be sure to leave an inch between the tree trunk and the mulch, do not let them touch to prevent disease.
Q9. Do I need to water my trees in the winter?
Answer: Yes, trees need to be watered if we have not received any moisture in two weeks and the ground temperature is above 40 degrees. Pay special attention to any evergreens in your yard. As evergreens do not lose their needles, they need water to survive through dry winters. Leafy trees go dormant in the winter and can handle longer periods of drought in the winter.