Known for their pointed, serrated leaves and tall, majestic canopies, mature elm trees are truly a sight to behold. They are less common than they once were, due to the prevalence of Dutch elm disease, a deadly fungal infection that is spread by beetles. However, if you want to preserve the beauty of the Elm tree for generations to come, planting a few elms on your property is a great choice. Just makes sure you follow these tips to give your trees the best chances of survival.
Plant your tree in a wide hole.
Elm trees are pretty hardy, and they can thrive in areas that receive little rainfall. They can even tolerate some shade, so selecting a place to plant your elm tree should not be too hard. Once you've selected a spot, however, pay close attention to how you dig the planting hole. It should be about twice as wide as the root ball on the bottom of the young tree. This gives the roots plenty of soft soil to grow through, which encourages quick root development. Dig too small of a hole, and the tree will have trouble growing new roots. It may even succumb to an early death because it's unable to establish the root system needed for water absorption.
Never prune your tree between April 1st and August 31st.
During this time period, the beetles that carry Dutch elm disease are most active. They are attracted to newly pruned branches, so elm trees should only be pruned in the early spring (before April 1st) or in the fall (after August 31st) when the beetles are not active. Young elms should be pruned annually. When your tree reaches a substantial size at about 10 years old, your tree care expert will likely recommend continuing to have it pruned only every 5 to 7 years.
Fertilize your tree every couple of years.
Your elm tree may look perfectly strong and healthy, but a fertilizer application every few years can boost its health even more, making it better able to withstand Dutch elm disease and other ailments. A basic, balanced fertilizer diluted according to the instructions on the package is all you need. Make sure you apply it in a circle several feet from the tree trunk, so it works its way down into the soils that the roots are growing through.
By planting your elm tree in a wide hole, having it properly trimmed, and fertilizing it regularly, you can increase its chances of survival. Generations to come will admire your beautiful elm trees.
To learn more about tree trimming, contact a company like Ironwood Earthcare.