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5 Essential Tree Care Tips

Assuming you have followed proper tree planting techniques, there are several things that can help ensure your trees are given a healthy environment to grow. Here are a few tips to keep your trees happy and healthy:

 

1. Know What Species of Trees You Have.

This is a good place to start. If you are unfamiliar with the species of trees you have, do some research. There are many tree identification sites online, and even apps that can help you identify a species of tree by their leaves. Find out what trees are on your property and understand their characteristics. Knowing this will help you to determine the best way to care for each one. There are some species you may not want around your property, especially as they get larger. Some trees can pose a threat during storms because they have a shallow root structure or their wood can be weak and brittle. Taking care of them when they are young, can save you lots of money.

 

2. Protect Tree Roots With Mulch.

Mulch is not just for making your landscaping look pretty. When properly used, it can provide numerous benefits to plants and trees. If you want to keep your trees in optimal health, mulch is a great place to start. Besides making your trees look better, here are some of the added benefits:

  • helps keep soil moist by reducing evaporation.
  • keeps weed growth under control.
  • helps regulate soil temperature by insulating against extreme temperatures.
  • reduces soil erosion.
  • can release nutrients into the soil as it breaks down and decomposes (if using organic material for mulch).
  • certain types of mulch can work as insect and pest repellents as well as inhibit certain diseases.
  • add a protective barrier to tree roots protecting against landscaping equipment.

Keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be bad. Piling up too much mulch around a tree can lead to excessive moisture and promote disease and insect problems. Deep mulch can become compacted and inhibit water penetration. It can also start to rot and give off toxins. Mulch should be limited to a depth of 2 to 4 inches although chunky or coarse mulch may be applied thicker without causing problems.

 

3. Get Regular Inspections.

It is a good idea to have your trees periodically inspected. Annual inspections from a certified arborist will help you catch any health issues or weaknesses before they get out of hand. This is also a good way to help protect your property from future storm damage. Loose or broken branches can be cleaned out of tree canopies before they pose a threat.

 

4. Fertilize.

Trees need nutrients to survive. Adding organic or synthetic fertilizers to your soil can make sure your trees have all the proper nutrients needed for healthy growth. Majority of new trees, that come from a nursery, do not need any additional fertilizers as they are usually well fertilized from the get go. For their first growing season, new trees usually only need water. Once a tree is established, a late fall fertilizing is recommended.

The best way to see what nutrients may be lacking in your soil is to pick up a soil test kit. Testing is usually offered through your county extensions office. Alternatively, you can pick up a test kit at your local big-box hardware store or order one online. They can be had fairly cheap (about $10) and will give you some insight into what you are dealing with. They will show you the acidity or alkalinity (ph) of your soil as well as show you the levels of nutrients in the soil. The most important essential elements for plant and tree nutrition are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (potash in fertilizers). You will find that all fertilizers have uniform markings showing the percentage of each one of these elements. Regardless of the brand of fertilizer you choose, be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions.

 

5. Prune.

Pruning not only makes a tree look better, it can also significantly increase strength and wind resistance. By removing dead, or diseased branches, you maintain a healthy canopy that will allow sunlight to reach all areas of the tree evenly. This promotes even, healthy development of the tree. Trees that are in close proximity to your house or buildings should maintain proper pruning of overhanging limbs. For more information about the importance of pruning, be sure to read our post here.

Trees are living investments . By following these few simple tips, you can make sure your trees will live a long, healthy life.

Pruning Techniques

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