Flowering Tree Power

Our clients frequently ask for specific information on flowering trees. Do my flowering trees require any special care? In response to these inquiries, we are reviewing some information on the needs of ornamentals.


Overview – The greatest flowering trees and shrubs provide beauty throughout the year. For example, an ideal tree might produce a wonderful spring bloom, ornamental fruits during summer months, vibrant fall foliage and colorful bark with an unusual texture for the winter season. However, these characteristics will not enhance the appearance of your property all by themselves. Proper care and maintenance are needed to ensure an attractive show all year long. In order to keep your ornamental plants healthy and beautiful consider their pruning and nutritional needs, climate, insects and disease factors.

Pruning– There are many reasons for pruning your flowering ornamentals. Pruning for health is the most important. This process involves the removal of broken, diseased, overlapping or dead branches in order to prevent decay-producing fungi from penetrating and infecting other areas of the plant. Pruning for growth enhancement, also known as developmental pruning, is key to the health and longevity of your trees and especially important for young trees. Pruning for aesthetics is important when trees are overgrown, out of shape or have excessive amounts of water sprouts. Finally, performing a safety inspection and removing hazardous or low-hanging limbs along driveways, pedestrian paths and surrounding buildings can easily prevent the danger and damage caused by falling limbs.

flowering3Nourishment– Besides air, water and light, all trees need 13 nutrients to grow! Periodic fertilization (once a year is the rule of thumb) is important to keep your ornamentals healthy. Adding organic matter such as sea kelp to your fertilization mix will help stimulate the soil microbia that breakdown these nutrients and make them available to the tree roots for absorption.

Monitoring – Although some species of flowering trees are disease and insect resistant, it is important to carefully check for and treat the following symptoms:

  • Leaves curling, shriveling, discoloring or dropping prematurely
  • Thin, sparse canopy
  • Shortage of blossoms
  • Excessive water sprouts
  • Whitish cottony nests in the crotches or branches
  • The presence of caterpillars

flowering1Whereas each of the symptoms may have a different cause, start by making sure your ornamental is getting enough water (and that it’s not drowning either!) and then through a process of elimination determine if the cause is physiological (soil compaction, mechanical injury, etc.), pathological (a disease present-i.e. anthracnose), entomological (an insect present-i.e. tent caterpillars) or genetic (inferior species or not suited for our climate). Once the root cause is determined, pick your best remedies, and if this all sounds too complicated, don’t hesitate to call your certified arborist. Taking care of your flowering friends will provide beauty and pleasure for many years to come!

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