Oklahoma's harsh weather conditions throughout the year wreak havoc on our trees. Strong winds, hail, ice and drought damage our trees throughout the year. Many of those damaged trees need repair. No need to wait until spring. According to longtime Oklahoma City gardening expert Loretta Aaron, winter is a great time to repair damage to trees. Here are Loretta's tips:
When applying first aid to a tree, remove only the branches in need of immediate repair. Removing too much wood at one time can create other problems, such as weak branching habits, that could further damage the tree. Reshaping the bark wounds into a vertical elongated shape will result in faster healing. Use braces and guy wires to support split branches. Coat all wounds with a commercial wound dressing to prevent borer entry and cambium drying. Be sure all pruning cuts are made flush with a side branch to enhance the healing action.
If major repairs are necessary, it probably will be cheaper in the long run to hire a professional tree surgeon to do the work. If you do it yourself, be sure to follow all safety precautions relative to contacting power lines, ladders and falling branches.
Be sure to remove all debris promptly to eliminate breeding areas for insects and diseases. When the tree has been repaired, your job is only half done. You must develop a good program of follow-up care for the injured tree. Thin out sucker growth regularly and reshape the tree gradually. Check the tree wound dressing regularly and repaint when necessary.
You should also feed the tree annually and continue a gradual reshaping program over a three- to five-year period. For more information, contact the Oklahoma State University Extension Center.
Editor's note: For 21 years, Loretta Aaron, an Oklahoma City gardening expert, was a beloved and well-known gardening columnist for The Oklahoman. Loretta died in 2009. Her cousin, Carla Sharpe, an OKC Beautiful board member and master gardener, copied and indexed Loretta's articles spanning many years.
• “ART: Art in. Recycled. Trash” exhibit, through Feb. 15. Sponsored by OKC Beautiful and the Science Museum of Oklahoma, this is the Science Museum Oklahoma Upcycle Challenge in which participants collect items that would normally be trash to create sculpture and works of art. See www.okc
• Volunteers will be planting green apple and pear trees from Feb. 14-16, thanks to a donation by Peach Crest Farms to OKC Beautiful and Oklahoma City public schools. If interested in helping, call Juliann Strange at 525-8822.
Each month, OKC Beautiful focuses on a particular area of Oklahoma City and awards beautification awards, recognizing a residence, a business and an organization in that area. Winners will be chosen soon and announced in March. Get your landscapes beautiful and you might win an award. If you know a landscape that is deserving of an award, contact OKC Beautiful.
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