Caring for Trees Starts with Planting
Some trees get off to a bad start because they are planted incorrectly, in the wrong place, or they aren’t right for the homeowner’s property. Over time, the tree may cause problems that lead to extra expenses and the eventual need for removal.
When you plant a tree, you are planting for the future. Calculate the area required for the mature tree. Make sure that at full size, the tree will not block roads, contact power lines, obscure visibility from your home, or damage structures if limbs break.
Trimming, or pruning, is not necessary for all trees. Most landscape trees do not require trimming unless they are growing close to power lines, trees, or other structures. However, some can be pruned to train them into the desired shape.
Fruit trees require pruning to remain productive. Without it, the tree will bear too much fruit, lowering quality and potentially damaging the tree. Annual pruning of fruit trees is essential for the health of the tree.
Caring for Trees: Mulching
Mulching has cosmetic and functional value for trees. Mulch will keep mowers and trimmers away from the trunk, reducing the risk of damage. It also helps the tree retain moisture and this is especially important for saplings. Mulching also gives the tree an attractive and finished look in the landscape.
When adding mulch, keep the layer of mulch about three inches deep, adding a little more for larger trees. Regardless of depth and material, never let the mulch touch the trunk. It can cause rot and attract insects.
Healthy Bark is Necessary for a Healthy Tree
Protect the bark on your trees, especially newly planted trees and younger saplings. Bark is a protective layer and should be kept healthy and intact. Never stake a tree with wire. It can cut into the bark, especially in windy areas, giving diseases and insects access to the tree. Keep lawnmowers and weed trimmers away from trees to prevent damage to the bark.
Water Drainage Matters
Few trees will tolerate saturated ground long-term. The roots need air in the soil. Excess water can cause the roots to rot and contribute to disease. Plant trees in well-drained areas and address moisture problems around existing trees.
As a tree grows, it will not send roots any deeper than is necessary to reach water, so overly wet soils mean shallow-rooted trees, and shallow-rooted trees have a higher risk of being uprooted in strong winds.
Caring for trees will help keep your landscaping vibrant and green and will improve curb appeal. Older, established trees need little care, but it’s important to pay attention to younger trees. Make sure they are healthy with no signs of insect infestation or damage and they will grow to add beauty and value to your property.