Trees are an asset to the community and the environment. They add significantly to land value while at the same time purifying the air, providing climate control, and noise abatement. Poor tree health is a significant problem and unfortunately, it is "people" who are mainly responsible for this condition. We are proud of our trees and their contribution to cleaner air in Freehold Township, and by protecting this valuable asset, we leave a community wide legacy of caring and beauty.
Freehold Township Shade Tree Commission was established in 1963 (38 years ago). The Township will celebrate its 22nd year as a "Tree City USA," the longest consecutive record in Monmouth County.
To protect and preserve our valuable assets, we offer these guidelines to help ensure that your trees will be beautiful, safe, and healthy.
Plant only what you can properly maintain. Choose planting sites thoughtfully, envisioning the new trees in maturity (physical space potential) and planting them in harmony with their potential growth and the existing site conditions. Avoid mistakes such as planting tall growing trees under overhead utility wires. Also, keep in mind underground utilities prior to planting.
If undertaking major landscaping, having soil samples analyzed will prove to be a valuable tool in selecting the proper plant material for your site. (Soil sample bags and instructions may be obtained from Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County Office (732) 431-7260.)
Do not crowd trees in small holes or in compacted soil. Plant the new tree at the same depth it grew in the nursery. The planting hole should never be deeper than the root ball. Planting one inch higher is always better. The width of the planting hole should be two times the width of the root ball, - here wider is better. Cut or remove all non-rotting material from the root ball, especially twine from around the trunk.
Do not fertilize or use herbicides around the tree at the time of planting. As with all chemicals, READ THE LABEL FIRST, THEN FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.
If necessary, stake the tree to keep it upright the first year. Do not use materials for ties that will cut or damage the bark. Wide type plastic chain or loosely secured wide strapping is acceptable in contact with the tree's trunk. Do not tie too tight and these ties must be removed after one year to prevent damage. Water thoroughly at the time of planting.
Natural target pruning can strengthen trees, improving their health and form. Dead, dying or broken branches should be removed. If an excessive amount of living branches are removed, the tree will decline and could die. Do not apply any paint or dressing to wounds as this interferes with a tree's natural healing process. With proper pruning, a wound will seal quickly and blend perfectly with the tree bark.
Pruning a tree can be hazardous to you and our property. If you have any doubts about your ability to prune heavy branches, contact a New Jersey Certified Tree Expert (NJCTE).
The Shade Tree Commission suggests the following safety tips and guidelines
for pruning trees.
• 1. Use hand tools you are comfortable with.
• 2. Keep all cutting tool edges sharp – hand pruner, hand saw, pole clip and pole saw. Have several tools available and exchange periodically for a sharper one. Dull, poorly maintained tools can cause accidents and make hard work harder.
• 3. Avoid reaching and holding a branch to be cut with your free hand and cutting it with a tool in the other hand; it is an easy to cut yourself. Wear protective gloves and keep your branch holding hand as far away from the cutting tool as possible.
• 4. The proper glove can improve your grip when using hand tools.
• 5. Stay alert when pruning trees and shrubs. Be aware of the following hazards – electrical conductors, utility lines, bees/wasps nests and protruding roots and holes.
• 6. Learn to identify and take proper precautions if you are susceptible to poison ivy.
• 7. Before performing pruning work in high grasses and vegetation, learn about Lyme disease and take the necessary precautions to avoid contracting it: dress properly, use repellents, inspect yourself during and after the day for ticks, look closely wherever clothing is constricted or ended and at hairlines and scalp.
• 8. Schedule pruning work as early in the day as possible to take advantage of cooler temperatures.
• 1. Low hanging
branches must be pruned and removed to a minimum height of 8'-10' when they
interfere with pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
• 2. The optimum time for large branch pruning is the winter, or early spring before bud break. Other times for pruning include midsummer and after leaf fall.
• 3. Avoid pruning during bud swelling, leaf emergence and obvious flowering and also into late summer or during leaf fall. Spring pruning just after budbreak is discouraged as tree bark is softer, more tender and is easily damaged.
• 4. Anvil types of hand pruning tools are strongly discouraged due to the "crushing" action of the blade onto the flat or anvil cutting surface. By-pass hand cutting tools are recommended for all woody live plant tissue removal.
• 5. Pruning to "natural targets" is using the current scientific knowledge when removing live and dead wood/branches from trees. Please see the diagram, which depict "natural target" pruning techniques. It is noted to expect some variation to the "branch collar" & "branch bark ridge" and the final "target" for branch removal even on the same tree. The key is to hit the "target".
depicts a typical branch and its attachment to the tree trunk. A proper pruning cut will start just above the branch bark ridge and angle away from the branch collar as indicated by the dotted line. This will prevent injury to both the branch bark ridge and branch collar and allow the wound to heal quickly.
portrays the same concept using a pair of shears on a small branch.
refers to large branches, which, because of their weight could rip away the bark below the intended cut. The first cut, as shown, should be through the bark on the bottom of the branch. The second cut is made above the first cut and will separate the branch from the tree. The final cut would follow the dotted line as shown.
Wounds on trees caused by lawn mowers, string trimmers, and other equipment leave the trees exposed to attack by insects and diseases that may result in irreversible damage. Provide mulch around the tree and maintain a grass free area. Mulch depth should not exceed 3". Do not mound mulch against tree trunk.
All plants require water, even established trees and shrubs. During dry weather, do not forget to water the trees, (taking into consideration any township water restrictions). A good soaking during drought conditions is needed for the trees to survive, especially newly planted street trees. Slow drip, soaker or trickle type watering is the best. This allows the maximum amount of water to be available to the tree by minimizing evaporation and runoff. Most lawn irrigation systems do not adequately penetrate the soil deep enough to provide sufficient moisture for the tree roots.
• Prepare planting site
• Mulch around the tree and maintain a grass free area
• Stake trees if needed, remove ties after one year
• Prune properly to natural targets
• Do Not apply wound dressing
• Protect against lawnmower and string trimmer damage
•Water when needed
Questions about keeping your trees healthy?
National Arbor Day Foundation - www.arborday.org