Palm Trees are not Trees!

It is sad but true, palm trees are not really trees, and here is why.

First palms are monocots and trees like oaks or pines are dicots. These terms have to do with the number of seed coats they have. Your lawn grasses are monocots too and so your palm tree is like a grass on some major steroids. Now lets look closer at the vascular systems of the two types of plants. Everyone knows how you can tell the age of the tree, you count the rings. Well, palms do not have rings, they have bundles of tubes that run from the roots to the head. These bundles give the palm its strength, whereas in trees, the layering (rings) of wood gives the strength. And one more difference is that palms have one meristem in the boot or head, while trees have meristems on all the tips of the branches and roots, and along the trunk.

Mulching: Do's - Don'ts

Ok, this post is for the DIY’ers that want to do it right and get the most return on one of the best resource you can add to your landscape. MULCH! This resource is cheap, if not free depending on your location. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you are applying it:

DO
  • Apply mulch in the spring and fall
  • You can add mulch in the summer if needed
  • Remove last year’s mulch
  • Remove weeds
  • Water in the mulch
  • Try to extended the mulch ring as far out as possible
  • The mulch ring should look like a donut, with a tree in the middle


DO NOT:

  • Apply mulch to the trunk or volcano
  • Over mulch


Points to keep in mind:

  • Mulch should breakdown, good quality mulch will not last more than a year!
  • When using pine straw mulch, do not apply more than 6in thick
  • When using bark or wood mulch, do not apply more than 4in thick
  • Try to use aged mulch
  • Try to avoid colored or dyed mulch


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Winter is the best time to plant trees

What?! Why?!

This is the usual reaction my clients give me when I tell them this bit of information. Yes, winter is the best time to plant trees. (Palm trees are not true trees, I will explain this one later.) To answer the why, we need to explore a little more about plant physiology. During the winter, deciduous trees are in a dormant state and conifers are in the slowest state of activity. This means processes like photosynthesis and transpiration are not occurring at normal rates. When a tree is planted it will undergo transplant shock, transplant shock is when the tree adjusts to the new growing conditions and the response is negative. Once the tree is planted, the tree will start to adjust to its new growing condition and because the physiological processes are hampered, the tree will have more time to adjust, thus lessening the effects of transplant shock. During the winter, trees focus growth on their roots, this gives them a head-start for the spring when the tree shifts gears and pushes out leaves. Leaf growth tasks the tree more for resources then root growth does. In addition, the exploration of roots into the soil will allow the tree to become more tolerant of the summer drought when water resources are scarce. I hope this shines a little more light on the topic for you.

There are a few things you can do to prevent transplant shock, even if you plant during the hottest part of the year.
  • Plant the tree properly in the ground (yes, there is a correct way to plant a tree)
  • Water the tree regularly
  • If needed, add fertilizer and mychorizza
  • Add mulch
  • Limit branch and root pruning, less is more

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