When you think of the ideal version of your home and yard, what do you see? Perhaps there’s the iconic white picket fence, some flowerbeds pristinely placed just below the windows, or a romantic patio swing just for two on your front porch. Whatever your vision entails, more often than not, somewhere within the vision will also be a tall, sturdy tree to provide a little privacy, maybe some mystery, and the perfect touch of shade on a hot summer day. A tree’s shape, size, and species will often be just as unique as each homeowner. A commonly sought out feature, though, especially when planting a new tree, is fast-growing trees.
As you may have guessed, this trait is popular because fast-growing trees can provide us the shade, beauty, and curb appeal we desire within a few short years. If you’re considering, or already have, fast-growing trees within your landscape, there are some tips the experts at Mr. Tree would like to pass on to help you ensure your trees thrive from the very beginning and for years to come.
1. Pick the Right Tree for Your Landscape
While it may seem obvious, it’s important to ensure you have the right fast-growing tree for your landscape before it’s ever planted. Not all trees thrive in all climates or soil types. A good place to start when considering a fast-growing varietal is to compare the tree’s ideal plant hardiness zone with the ranking of the zone in which you live. This will ensure the tree doesn’t suffer damage from too much or not enough sun, shade, or water, as damage can lead to the loss of your tree.
Once you’ve determined if your ideal fast-growing tree will thrive geographically, you should check the soil composition of the plant site. As different soil types will provide different types of nutrients, water retention, and water drainage, it’s good to know the makeup of yours and compare it to the needs of your tree. For those homeowners unsure of their soil composition, you can always consult professionals for assistance with testing.
2. Give It Nutrients
Once they’re planted, the next tip to help your fast-growing trees survive and thrive is to give them nutrients via fertilizer. Just like we take vitamins to help us grow big and strong, so should we give vitamins to our trees for the same effect. This is one way to help balance out a lack of the needed nutrients from your yard’s soil composition or a way to boost the benefits further. The results will include stronger root systems, fuller foliage, increased growth, and longer life spans for your tree.
Again, knowing your soil composition here can greatly impact the decisions you make. Fertilizers come in many composition varieties to both balance out what your landscape may lack and to address what your plants and trees need. If you don’t know the specifics of your soil, then focus on fertilizers that meet the known needs of your tree species by doing a bit of research or consulting a local licensed arborist.
3. Keep It Hydrated
Again, just like our own reliance on water, hydration is life to your fast-growing trees. For survival, it’s required; for thriving, it’s necessary at the right time and in the appropriate amounts. Your watering habits should adjust with each season.
During hot summers, you need to ensure your trees are watered on a fairly consistent basis and usually during the coolest time of day. This will ensure optimal saturation within the soil for the roots to get their fill, without losing the water to evaporation. During the cooler months, depending on the local rainfall, you may need to water your tree very little, if at all. Instead, you may be more focused on ensuring the surrounding soil has good drainage so the roots aren’t drowned, making the tree more susceptible to root rot and disease.
Because the root systems of your fast-growing trees need both water and oxygen to thrive, there are various methods of watering. One of the most popular is the slow-drip irrigation method. This ensures a nice long slow drink for the tree’s roots. It also includes a balance of oxygen and hydration by giving an ample amount of time for the water to saturate and drain through the soil. It can be accomplished over an extended time period with a hose, or there are commercial slow-drip bags and spikes that can significantly decrease your active time investment in this watering method.
4. Prevent Pests and Disease
Pests and diseases can be the downfall of any new or established tree. For fast-growing trees, they pose an increased threat due to the instability they can cause in the foundation. Because fast-growing trees grow quickly, their root systems are that much more important to the stability and life span of the trees.
When your tree has to allocate its resources to protect itself against pests or fight off disease, it can hinder the development of the root system. This can slow the growth or make the tree less sturdy and more susceptible to falling because of wind and rainstorms. Regularly look for signs of pests and disease, like peeling bark or yellow and curling leaves not consistent with the fall season. If you think you see signs of an infestation or problem, reach out to trained arborists, like those at Mr. Tree, to get it under control quickly and with the least amount of damage to your tree.
5. Prune Regularly for Health
Pruning and trimming benefit all trees. These are ways of removing diseased or dying areas from your tree, while also ensuring optimal growth and shape. It should be done regularly every couple of years, depending on the type of tree.
Based on the species and varietal, there are different times of the year recommended for pruning to ensure trees heal properly and continue growing. While you can trim your tree yourself, we recommend working with a professional for safety and the best results. Pruning and tree trimming will give the tree the ability to refocus its energy and nutrients on growing taller, faster, and stronger.
For more tips, best practices, and recommendations for taking care of your landscape and trees, check out the other resources Mr. Tree publishes to address any and all of your concerns.