Home Is Where Your Trees Are

Home Is Where Your Trees Are. Part 3

Tree care is not an exact science. But there is in it more basic method than inspired art. A substantial amount of "expert" care can be administered quite as well by an attentive novice as by pontifical professionals. By no means all tree owners have proclivities to do-it-yourself. But perhaps twice a year, which is enough, most healthy persons who have secured their treasure in the good earth will feel an urge to help good things grow therefrom. If their own hands and backs are not up to it they will hire common labor and, out of their own reading, get the work done on an intelligent boss-it-yourself basis. It is this book's aim to help along these lines, with basic "show how" text and illustrations on such elementals as tree feeding, light pruning, cavity and flux treatment, the relief of girdling roots. It surprises lots of people to learn that a hundred pounds of good tree food properly installed by themselves can save a $25 bill from the "surgeon/' Or that a few inches of pipe or tubing correctly inserted can deter heartwood decay.

For the higher mystique and techniques of treating trees, advice is offered on how to pick and pay tree experts, what to tell them, what to ask them, how to check on their work. True practitioners of tree care are among nature's noblemen, to be trusted and cherished. But the woods are full of cynical, piratical frauds and gypsy butchers. Because fresh arrivals at the status of tree ownership - and experienced ones as well - find themselves in a variety of locales and ground conditions, typical combinations of these are prescribed for under separate headings.

The tree problems of an owner sandwiched in suburbia will differ greatly from those of a settler in the wildwood. But the theme throughout remains the same: home is where your trees are. Giving them care is as worthwhile as keeping your house in repair; in fact, even more so. Trees grow in value. Houses can only obsolesce. When you renovate your house it remains impassive. It will look and function better for a while, but it offers no active response, and soon resumes its decline. In contrast, try feeding your hungry trees generously. Relieve their self-strangulating roots. Give them a "hair-do" by raising droopy branch levels, pruning out deadwood, thinning overgrowths. Treat their scars and sores with edged tools and wound dressing. And what do you get? Young or old, your trees will respond with surges of new life and energy, silent and slow as is the way of trees, but nonetheless visible, grateful, and rewarding.