Love the curb appeal and shade you get from your trees but aren’t sure how to care for them? While established trees often grow well on their own without much intervention, some regular tree care is important to help them stay as healthy as possible.
Specific care requirements vary based on the age of the tree, species, and other factors. Watering, tree pruning, and fertilizing are part of the care routine for most trees.
Keep reading for the do’s and don’ts of tree care.
Do: Know Your Trees – Tree Care
With over 60,000 tree species in the world, it’s impossible to know them all, but you should familiarize yourself with the ones in your yard. The growing conditions and care requirements can vary significantly from one species to another.
While all trees need certain basic care, the specifics for those tasks can vary. For example, some trees are drought-tolerant and do well for periods without water. Others need regular, consistent water to grow well.
Many trees grow well on their own without much pruning, other than to remove dead or diseased branches. Others need regular pruning for shaping and health.
Determine what types of trees you have on your property. Find out what types of conditions and care those trees need for optimal growth. You can consult with a local arborist, tree company, or university extension department for specific help.
Don’t: Overwater It
Trees often grow best with consistent moisture, but the specific amount of water a tree needs depends on its species and growth. Young plants are often more susceptible to damage from heat and drought, so supplemental watering is more important in the first two years. More established trees, especially native species, are often fine without supplemental watering unless you’re going through a drought.
However, too much water can hurt most trees. Overly saturated soil increases the risk of root rot, which often kills the tree. This can happen if you give the tree too much water or if the soil is compacted or otherwise doesn’t drain well and holds too much moisture around the roots.
When you water your trees, it’s usually better to water them infrequently but deeply. Deep watering encourages the roots to grow deeply, which makes the tree stronger. You want all of the roots to get water, so irrigate the entire root zone.
Do: Add Mulch
While not absolutely required, mulching around your tree, especially a newly planted one, provides protection in multiple ways. For a young tree, the mulch serves as an insulator, keeping the soil at a more consistent temperature.
Mulch cuts down on weed growth around the tree, which limits competition for moisture and nutrients. It also creates a natural barrier for your lawnmower, reducing the risk of damage to the tree or its roots from your mower.
Organic mulches, such as wood chips, bark, and leaves, that break down add nutrients to the soil for your trees. The mulch also helps the soil hold onto water, reducing your watering needs and preventing the soil from drying out as quickly.
An ideal mulching area is at least 3 feet around the tree or up to 10 feet for a larger tree. While the tree is young, it’s ideal to create a mulched area that matches the size of the tree’s canopy.
When mulching a tree, lay down a 2 to 4-inch layer of mulch. If you put too thick of a mulch layer around the tree, it can be harmful to the tree’s roots. Don’t let the mulch touch the tree trunk.
Don’t: Prune Too Much or at the Wrong Time – Tree Care
All trees need at least some pruning to remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches. Removing those dangerous sections of the tree prevents the branches from falling and injuring someone or damaging property. Cutting diseased wood from the tree can help save it by preventing the disease from spreading.
In addition to pruning to keep your trees strong and healthy, you can also prune trees to control the size and shape of the tree. You might need to prune branches that hang over your roof or grow near power lines to prevent serious damage should one of the branches fall.
Despite the benefits, the wrong timing or type of tree pruning or tree trimming can do more damage than good. Removing too many tree branches at once can damage the tree and make it more susceptible to pests and diseases. Pruning trees right before winter in cold climates can encourage new growth that can be damaged by the cold.
Hiring a professional tree trimming service is the easiest way to prune and trim trees correctly. When you hire an experienced company, they know how and when to prune the trees to keep them healthy and prevent damage. They also know tree trimming safety tips to prevent injury or damage.
Using slow-release fertilizer provides a continuous supply of nutrients to your tree. Soil tests can help determine if the soil is lower in certain nutrients that your tree needs. Fertilizers have different formulations, so choosing the right formulation based on your soil’s needs can help your tree thrive.
Don’t: Ignore Signs of Problems
Trees offer signs of problems, including damage, fungal diseases, and pest infestations. If you notice changes in your trees, such as changes in leaf color, holes in leaves, drooping foliage, or growths on the trunk or leaves, your tree might have a pest infestation or a disease. The pests and diseases that affect trees often vary depending on the species.
For some diseases, cutting out the diseased portion is enough to save the tree. Fungicides and other chemical treatments can help with some diseases. Others don’t have a good cure and often kill the tree.
Pest-infested branches can also be cut out if they’re limited to a portion of the tree. Some pests are easy to wash away with a spray of the hose. Other infestations are better treated with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or pesticides to kill the insects.
If you’re not sure what’s going on with your tree, contact an arborist to help diagnose the problem and recommend options. Ignoring the problem usually allows it to get worse, which might make the issue too severe to treat.
Handle Tree Care Regularly
When you follow basic tree care guidelines, you support your tree’s healthy growth. The trees in your yard can grow strong, so they add a safe and beautiful focal point to your home.
If your trees need help or you’re looking for tree removal services, contact us today. We have tree trimming tools and equipment, including bucket trucks, stump removers, and cranes, to get the job done correctly and safely.