Property owners have a lot to maintain, so it’s no surprise that some items around the home don’t get the attention they should. An easy item to overlook is one of the most visible features on the property: trees.
Trees will perform better and last longer with a little extra attention and care. They can provide shade, wind protection, and beautiful colors throughout the year. To maintain those benefits, consider making basic tree maintenance a priority.
Getting the full lifespan from a tree starts at planting. The location and type of tree are important factors for the longevity of a tree. To assist in choosing the best tree for your property, try this free online tool: Find a tree with the Arbor Day Tree Wizard.
When buying a tree to plant, carefully inspect the roots, trunk, branches, and bark for any signs of damage or disease. Good branch spacing and healthy trunk development will give your tree a solid head start. Ask your local nursery or garden store staff for suggestions on the best tree and where to place it.
The type of tree you buy or how the roots are enclosed will affect how the tree should be planted. It’s worth taking a few minutes to watch a how-to video before you get started. Once your tree is in the ground, use mulch to protect the soil and roots. Water immediately after planting and try to keep the soil moist. A good mulch bed will help to retain moisture and keep weeds from developing.
Once the roots have established themselves, keep an eye on your tree and give it a little love when needed. Basic maintenance such as pruning and trimming is the most important upkeep practices. Pruning will encourage strong branch growth by making it more resilient to the wind, ice, and drought. It also makes it safer, more beautiful, healthier, and easier to maintain.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, here are a few basic pruning tips:
- Prune in the winter or early spring; new growth will be encouraged in the spring. Trees heal slower in the fall and fungi spread more easily. Light pruning and removal of dead wood can be done anytime.
- Never remove more than ¼ of branches in a season.
- Encourage branches that form 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock angles from the trunk. Remove branches that rub or grow in undesirable directions.
- Maintain a single trunk, and keep the strongest, best-positioned branches with good spacing.
- Use a pole pruner to reach high branches. Once a tree exceeds a height you can safely reach, hire a professional arborist.
- Look online or consult an expert for tips for maintaining your specific tree as it ages.
Periodically inspect your trees’ bark for signs of insect damage or disease. If you notice a problem, contact a professional to see if there are any options to treat your tree. Following these basic maintenance steps will help you enjoy the beauty and benefits of your trees.
Arbor Day Foundation: “9 Tree Care Tips & Techniques.”