The Plant Man column
Tree woes can cause headaches... and heartaches!
Trees add so much beauty and tranquility to our landscape. But when
develop problems they can cause some big headaches.
Several readers have sent me tree-related questions via e-mail, and
done my best to help. If you have questions – or suggestions to help
fellow readers with their problems – send an e-mail to
QUESTION: “We have a couple of pink crabapple trees that bloom
in the sping time, but as soon as the blossoms die and fall off, the
do as well. By the time the summer is over, it is nearly bare and it
produce the apples, but they are the size of very small cherries. Any
you could provide, would be welcomed.” – Kirk
ANSWER: “Without seeing the tree, it’s hard to tell but it sounds like
could be a nutrition issue. Have you been fertilizing the trees? Is
soil acid or does it have a balanced PH? You might need to add lime.
know, fruit-producing trees put on blooms that are pollinated by bees.
the tree begins to devote most of its energy to producing fruit. At
fruit producing time it needs more than it’s usual amount of water.
after the fruit is produced, it needs nutrition to replenish the tree.
might want to check with a local county extension agent or get a
opinion from a local garden center.
QUESTION: “We are having a problem keeping our trees alive. Most of
wind burn and we are not sure how to treat them. Maybe we are not
the right trees. We hope you can help us with this problem. We don't
getting a young tree is the reason or if the weather has something to
with it. We would really like your out put on the matter.” – Bill &
ANSWER: Young trees need protection from the wind. I recently received
photos from a reader who cut 5 gallon plastic buckets in half
top to bottom) and then cut out the ends. He then pressed the “half
into the ground about 12 inches from each tree on the windward side.
gave the trees a chance to grow in size and strength to the point
winds did not affect them that much. This sounds like it might be
try in your situation!
QUESTION: “I have a small starter wisteria that a friend gave me. This
spring I planted it to grow on some lattice, but after reading that it
get pretty heavy, I am thinking I should move it. I'd love to let it
but I don't really have a place for it to hold it's weight, so I have
considered moving it and shaping it into a small tree. I have seen
are just huge and not very pretty. Any suggestions on what to do with
on how to train it would be greatly appreciated.”– Mary C.
ANSWER: In order to create an attractive display, you would need to
the central leader. Once you’ve done that, go up to about five feet
it and begin the shaping process. It should take about 2 years to see
effects of your labor.
QUESTION: “I am writing in regards to an epidemic affecting the pine
in my area. I heard there is a virus that's attacking all the pine
there anything you can do to try to save them? My neighbor’s trees
dying and now mine are, too. There is not a shortage of water and
has been done to them. Also, all around my work the pines are dying
Help!”– Brad Mueller
ANSWER: I hate to tell you this but I think there is nothing you can
save them. It is a pine canker, and there are many arborists trying to
figure out a solution. Hopefully, they will succeed before it wipes
the pine. If any reader has any good news to pass on regarding this
please drop me an e-mail. Meanwhile, here are a couple of links with
find direct links to both sites from my web site. Go to
and click on the links in this column archived under “The Plant Man”
The Plant Man is here to help. Send you questions about trees, shrubs
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