It’s a fact that life is messy but that’s actually what makes it interesting. It’s how you look at life that creates your reality and the same goes for trees.Man eating appleWith a little effort, we can appreciate the benefits of trees and not be bothered by the natural tree cycle. This is the first part of a two part blog post responding to concerns that “trees are messy.” This first part provides you with things you can do to limit tree “mess.”  The second part helps us see the glass half full and see how to fully appreciate your trees leaves, flowers and fruit.

  • Select the Right Tree for the Right Place. When it comes to trees, a hasty decision can lead to a lifetime of regret.  So, it’s critical to select the right tree for the right place. This means doing some homework, whether you research yourself or hire a Certfied ISA Arborist and ask the right questions. Your questions will differ upon where your tree will be situated. For example, in your backyard closer to the border of your property, you may be fine with a fruit tree such as a mulberry that attracts song birds, but you wouldn’t want that same tree to border your driveway. Closer to your driveway or patio, its best to select smaller lower-maintenance trees, like the Amur maple, which will be clean and beautiful year-round.
  • Thin and Prune for Better Yield Management. Thinning fruit trees within weeks of pollination results in bigger and better fruit, and also less of it.  This makes your overall crop more manageable. As a bonus, pruned trees in general are less susceptible to disease. A certified ISA arborist can help you care for your trees—click here to locate one.
  • Know that Times Change. Over the years scientists and industry specialists have been to create trees that are  less “messy” while maintaining their other desirable traits. We admit that developing genetic modification has its own set of issues. However, one example is the crabapple: In the past, crabapple trees had a reputation for dropping small fruits, but newer varieties have smaller fruits that stay on the branches. It’s worth a trip to your local nursery or asking specialist certified arborist because you might be able to get the best of both worlds.
  • Chemical Management Techniques. woman spraying treeOther tree management innovations in recent years include chemical treatments to reduce or eliminate the dropping of fruits of certain species. In fact, fruit trees can be either chemically trimmed or completed “neutered”—using growth-regulating sprays which prevent them from producing fruit. The downside is that you are spraying a chemical on your tree, but the good news is that the trend is towards plant hormone products created from natural ingredients. This process has to be repeated yearly, but if you really don’t want your fruit tree to yield this provides a solution.

Tune in next week on ways to appreciate the many gifts of trees.