Mowing the lawn can be hazardous to your health. Especially if there is a tree in the lawn.
Del Seagren, owner of Stone Creek Landscape and Nursery on the east side of Fort Dodge, said any trees in a lawn should be pruned high enough to keep the branches out of the way.
"When you're mowing, you're not going to get hit in the face with the branches," Seagren said.
-Messenger photo by Sandy Mickelson
It’s important when pruning a tree to cut the branches as close to the trunk as possible. A new kind of tree paint, which covers the cut area to prevent insects or other problems, is invisible, said Del Seagren, owner of Stone Creek Landscape and Nursery.
Pruning young trees is essential to developing a strong tree with good form, he said.
"Whatever you do, trim them close to the trunk," Seagren said. "And once a tree is pruned, use some tree joint paint. I've never been a big fan of tree paint, because it was a color and showed, but there's a new tree paint out that protects from insects and helps to heal, and it's clear. It's like putting a Band-Aid on your finger."
Spreading tree paint over cuts will keep insects and possible disease, he said.
A tree may need pruning for a variety of reasons:
To remove diseased or storm-damaged branches.
To thin the crown to permit new growth and better air circulation.
To reduce the height of a tree.
To remove obstructing lower branches.
To shape a tree for design purposes.
"Now is an excellent time of year to prune," Seagren said. "The plant is still dormant. It's also an excellent time to trim shrubs."
The idea of pruning, he said, is to keep the tree growing upright and to keep the shrub growing in a preferred shape.
"With the shrub, you're just trimming it for shape," he said. "But many times, shrubs are planted, and everybody is busy, so instead of a haircut every year, it goes five or six years. Instead of small branches, you end up with a stick."
Cutting back on the thicker wood often removes so much of the foliage it could take a year or two before the shrub is back to normal and looking good.
"Shrubs last twice as long by giving it a haircut once a year," Seagren said.
And trees look better without errant branches headed in all directions, he added, and without branches to smack you in the face when you mow.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org