How to Grow Healthy Trees and Bushes

Grow strong and healthy trees and bushes with these must-see gardening tips. Whether you're a professional gardener or an amateur, you can learn to properly prune bushes, tie trees to stakes, and more. 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
July 27, 2017


High Stakes

If you need to attach a tree to a stake or two to give it support, make sure you’re attaching the ties in the right spot. Run your hand up the trunk, holding it tightly, and the spot where the top of the tree no longer bends over is the spot to place the ties.

Tie Up Your Plants with Stuff You Don’t Need

If you still have old, unused cassette tapes laying around, pull out the film and use it to tie up any trees or plants that need to be held to stakes. Better yet, old panty hose also makes an effective tie: Just cut the nylons into narrow strips. It works better than plastic ties because the panty hose expands as the plant grows.

See also: 5 Surprising Tips for Starting Seedlings

Tree Sculpting

Pruning will be less of a chore if you keep your eye on the goal of a strong and healthy tree. If it’s more of a motivator, though, remember you don’t want to get sued if a weak branch falls on a neighbor. On pruning day, follow a simple plan: first get rid of any branches that are clearly dead, dying, or infested. Then home in on the ones that are too long, crisscrossing each other, or growing weak. Step back and admire your work.

Pinch Protector

Keep clothespins on hand when you are pruning your bushes to keep branches out of your way. (Think of hairdressers clipping parts of your hair up while they are working on other sections.) The clothespins also allow you to grip the thorny branches of rose bushes, raspberries, or thistles, without risk of injury whereas thorns often poke through gardening gloves.

Tough Love for Trees

Treating your fruit trees like they’re bad will yield a good crop. Smack the trunks with a rolled-up newspaper to get the sap moving more efficiently through the branches, which, in turn, helps the tree produce more fruit. Think of it like a massage to increase blood flow. And be prepared for strange looks from passersby.

Don’t Brush It Off

Instead of disposing of brush or using it in your fireplace, consider leaving a pile or two around your yard to provide shelter for birds and other wildlife.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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