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PHOTO | AboutTrees.com
I'm all about spreading the word about great resources, especially when they are free. This one from AboutTrees.com is fabulous. It has released the Free Mulch App which can be found at Freemulch.abouttrees.com or in one of the smart phone stores. It uses GPS technology to connect multiple tree services to homeowners within their immediate working area who are looking for free wood mulch.

This app was developed to minimize the waste of everybody's time. Instead of multiple tree services keeping lists of mulch locations that are uncoordinated, this app does it all. A homeowner or business owner just puts in a request and the GPS technology does the rest. This way a tree service can immediately locate the next available location for mulch without any administrative overhead. It is beautiful! The best part is that it is free to join. So throw away that bagged mulch and click on the link below to sign up and leave your first request.
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My dad loves trees. He planted hundreds of them in neat little rows over the years. Really, hundreds - mostly Lombardy poplar, apple, Russian olive, ash, maple and spruce. We had windbreaks and shadow walls galore in our flat, frequently flooded piece of the prairie. For the most part, my job was to mow and trim around those dang trees. Remember hand clippers? They were like industrial horizontal scissors for trimming grass. I also had to prune and trim those trees by hand. My hands hurt. They still hurt. This week my dad called a few days ago and asked if could I trim his trees when I come to visit. He is nearly 80 now and has a hard time getting around. So of course I will. It is a bit late in the season for trimming, but who among us is going out in several feet of snow to trim our trees as we should in February and March? Fess us. We all trim a bit late. But I've found that works out just fine for some trees. So have no regret. Trim your trees a bit later and save the snow pants for skiing. Here is my guide to when to trim and prune trees in the (Minnesota - Dakotas - Wisconsin) north.
Late February through Early April
Before 60 degrees hits. Definitely do not prune in May, June, July or August.
  • apple (except for those listed below)
  • cotoneaster
  • crabapple (except for those listed below)
  • hawthorn
  • honeylocust
  • mountain ash
  • oak
  • pear

Late February through Early May
There are some sap flowing trees you can trim during this time, but I prefer to wait so they don't look so bad with sap flowing down the trunks. I put asterisk* by those with excessive sap that you may want to do later in summer.
  • Alpine currant
  • Annabelle hydrangea
  • ash
  • aspen
  • barberry
  • basswood
  • birch*
  • bluebeech*
  • boxelder*
  • burning bush (winged euonymus
  • butternut*
  • chestnut crab
  • cottonwood
  • dogwood
  • Dolgo crab
  • Douglas fir
  • elm
  • fir
  • Haralson apple
  • hickory
  • hackberry
  • Honeycrisp apple
  • honeysuckle
  • ironwood*
  • Kentucky coffeetree
  • Liberty apple
  • linden
  • maple*
  • ninebark
  • peashrub
  • poplar
  • purple leaf sand cherry
  • Red Baron apple
  • Snowsweet apple
  • smokebush
  • spirea
  • spruce
  • sumac
  • viburnum
  • wlanut*
  • willow
  • winterberry
  • Zestar apple

May

  • shrub roses (back to new growth as soon as new growth shows) 

June
Coniferous trees that you want to be bushier can be tip pruned after the new shoots sprout forcing them to double sprout the following year on the tips. Do not cut all the new growth off.
  • douglas fir
  • fir
  • spruce

May through June

Those that bloom in spring on last year’s growth should be pruned right after blooming.
  • apricot
  • azalea
  • chokeberry
  • chokecherry
  • clove currant
  • flowering plum
  • flowering cherry
  • forsythia
  • lilac
  • magnolia
  • serviceberry
  • spirea (early blooming)

June-September

  • arborvitae
  • ash
  • basswood
  • birch
  • bluebeech
  • boxelder
  • butternut
  • hemlock
  • ironwood
  • Japanese yew
  • juniper
  • linden
  • maple
  • pine
  • walnut
Silky Saws 
My favorite pruning and trimming equipment. I don't get paid for an endorsement. Cuts like a hot knife through butter. You'll thank me later.
 

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