Care of lawn and wild plum tree

Asked February 24, 2016, 10:33 AM EST

  • When do I top dress my lawn in north Boulder? I need to do it as soon as possible so I can get the help I need to put down the top dressing.
  • My lawn has a lot of pine needles on it. Should I rake up the needles before putting on the top dressing? Will the needles act as mulch or can I rake them up now?
  • I have a small wild plum tree that had one dead side which I removed. Now I have a weird looking one sided plum tree. If I remove the other side to match, the poor tree will only have a stick truck with no branches. What do I do?

Boulder County Colorado

1 Response

First, lawn topdressing is not a necessary management tool. It depends on what you want to use for topdressing? If compost, then as soon as the grass is greening up and growing - probably mid- to late-March. We do not encourage or recommend topdressing lawns with soil - as soil topdressing can result in the development of layers in the lawn that can disrupt rooting and water inflitration.

Pine needles can be raked up if they are deep enough that they impede grass growth. We recommend that pine needles be allowed to build up under the dripline of pine trees to form a mulch layer. This buildup is both natural and beneficial for the tree since it reduces competition from the grass and reduces the potential for injury to bark by mowers and string trimmers.

As for the plum tree, it sounds like it might be time to remove this tree and replace it with something healthier? This tree is quite unlikely to develop into an attractive, functional, and structurally sound tree.

I hope this answers your questions. Please let me know if you have further questions.

Thanks, Tony