Like most people, I love to relax in the shade on a hot summer day. While it’s easy to get big shade trees on purchased property, it’s more difficult to grow and maintain a healthy tree to develop and sustain good shade over the years. This article helps you understand the easiest and most important ways to help your trees stay healthy and strong.
Good Tree Care is Proactive, Not Reactive
If you look up “maintaining a healthy tree” and you will find a lot of consistent recommendations: “be proactive, not reactive.” No matter what species of trees you have on your property, the following steps will help your trees
Maximize Water Infiltration
Observe Your Trees
While other steps such as adding soil enhancements or fertilizers can also be part of the tree care discussion, these essentials should always come first.
1. Water Your Tree Sufficiently
The first and most important component to a healthy tree is ensuring water is available to the tree throughout the growing season. Many factors dictate groundwater inception, some are within our control, while others are not. Start by considering what is covering the root zone, where the water enters the soil. Do you have grass right up against the tree? If so, the thick grass blocks water infiltration into the soil. Wouldn't a mulch ring be a good addition to your yard? Mulch rings or beds not only make great flower gardens but also reduce the amount of grass you’ll have to cut. Do you think your trees prefer chlorinated water or rainwater? Not only do trees love rainwater, but it’s also free!
2. Tree Pruning
Once you have the mulch ring, tree pruning is the next important step to maintaining a healthy tree. Every tree is different in terms of pruning needs; for example, old trees often need less frequent pruning because their branch structure is established. Young trees often need more frequent pruning (every 2-5 years depending on species) to improve branch structure by increasing branch spacing, creating a central leader (trunk), keeping temporary branches small, and establishing permanent branches.
3. Keep an eye on Your Trees
Regularly checking out your tree over time and catching problems early improves an arborist’s ability to create a successful tree management plan when changes start and potential action needs to be taken. Signs of tree problems include the appearance of larger dead branches, browning leaves, decay pockets, or cracks in the bark or wood near branch attachments.
You may want to keep a journal for all trees in your yard. Written observations help overcome our faulty memories. Take note of things like annual limb growth (the distance the branch ends growth each year), changes in the tree bark, number of dead branches, leaf appearance (size, color, and also any presence of leaf disease), and any changes into the environment surrounding or near the tree.
Following those three principles will take you a long way in protecting your trees. Not only will you enjoy your trees for longer, but you will save money in the long run with reduced tree care bills. Unfortunately, when property owners don’t take these easy preventative tree care measures, we are called to address problems when they are too far gone. Don’t find yourself in such a situation: be proactive, not reactive, and your trees will thank you for it. If you’d like some more tree care service tips click on the link.