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Lower tree branches that interfere with traffic around the yard should be removed as soon as they start to interfere. Trees that are very dense exclude light from the lawn and should be thinned to permit light to filter through. Occasionally the leader (main stem) of a tree, like a spruce, is injured. Several lateral branches usually grow upward to replace the leader. Allowing these to grow results in a multiple-stemmed tree. All but one of these leaders should be removed 54 Pruning and Training 55 or cut back as soon as possible.
It is important that the gardener understand the function of each of these major elements. Nitrogen is a constituent of amino acids and proteins as well as of the chlorophyll molecule. Adequate levels of nitrogen ensure normal vegetative growth and a healthy green color. A deficiency of nitrogen results in stunted plants of a yellowish green color. An excess causes rank, vegetative growth. To maintain the proper nitrogen level in the soil, one should understand how nitrogen enters the soil. Approximately 80 percent of the air we breathe is gaseous nitrogen.
Seedling roots are most commonly employed. With dwarf fruit trees, selected rootstocks are vegetatively propagated by mound layering. In making a stem graft, it is very important that the stem portion be completely dormant. The scions to be grafted are cut in late fall or early winter from vigorous, young stems that are unbranched. The parent tree should be healthy and true to variety. The scions should be stored in a cool, moist place until it is time to make the graft. The temperature must be right above freezing.