Whether they’re suffering from leaf rust or mildew or need a good trim, trees benefit from the care of an arboriculture expert. They know how to prune and thin trees for light, strength, and value.
Tree health is a plant’s first line of defense against problems. Healthy trees can withstand stress, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Pruning is more than just trimming the limbs of trees and shrubs. It is a process that improves health, structure, fruit and flower production, enhances aesthetics, and more. It is also an important element of tree care and should be a part of every landscape maintenance program.
Some people might think that pruning is unnecessary, after all there are plenty of wild, untamed trees out in nature that seem to be thriving just fine without human intervention. But these wildly growing plants are often overgrown, unhealthy, and have a messy appearance that can make landscapes look unruly and unkempt.
Trees that are not pruned regularly are at risk of breaking and falling during a storm or windy weather, which can cause serious damage to property or even injury to people. Likewise, they may grow so tall and wide that they become a fire hazard or come into contact with power lines. This is why pruning is so important.
Removing dead, rotted, and diseased limbs helps prevent the spread of diseases and insects. In addition, thinning the canopy increases light penetration, which promotes growth and encourages more branching. Other types of pruning include training young trees, removing water sprouts, and forming hedges or topiaries.
The best time to perform these procedures is during the dormant season when it is easier to see and manage the plant. However, this varies depending on the species of tree and its blooming cycle. Some plants require regular trimming to maintain a specific shape, while others only need to be pruned on an annual basis. Regardless of the type of pruning needed, it is important to seek the help of an experienced professional to avoid damage or potential safety hazards.
Mulching conserves moisture in soil, promotes a more natural rate of evaporation, regulates soil temperature year-round and helps keep weeds out. In addition, it helps to reduce the amount of water lost from the ground surface during hot weather, and it adds organic matter that improves soil quality. It is a good practice for all trees, new and old. However, when overused, mulch can cause problems.
The best mulch is a coarse organic material, like wood chips, bark dust or compost. These materials decompose over time and help to improve the soil’s structure and fertility. They can be purchased inexpensively from most landscape supply yards. Organic mulches also work better than sand or gravel, which do not decompose and actually suffocate the roots by blocking oxygen movement.
Avoid piles of mulch stacked directly against the trunk of a tree or shrub. When wet, these layers may heat up and burn the inner bark and phloem tissue of the tree. This damage will disrupt the flow of photosynthetic sugars from the roots to the tree, starving it of the nutrients it needs. In addition, wet and rotting mulch layers can encourage fungal diseases to gain a foothold in the bark and invade the inner root system.
Over-mulching can also kill plants by suffocating them. When the surface layer of mulch and topsoil are waterlogged, air infiltrates into the pore spaces between the particles and is no longer available to the roots. When the root oxygen levels drop below 10%, root growth slows and the plant eventually dies. This is a common problem for azaleas, rhododendrons, dogwoods, boxwoods, mountain laurel, cherry trees and other common garden plants.
Trees need water to grow and survive, but the way they receive it has a big impact on their health. Proper watering is the difference between a healthy tree and one that suffers from problems like droopy leaves or root rot. Many people fail to water their trees adequately, leaving them to go long periods without moisture, which can stunt their growth and ultimately kill them. On the other hand, others over-water their trees, which can actually be just as harmful. Learning the right amount of water to give your trees can be tricky, but it’s something that most people can do by simply observing their plants.
When to water your tree depends on the weather and soil conditions, but a good rule of thumb is to soak the ground around them once a week during growing season. Newly planted trees should be watered a little more frequently to help their roots establish.
Watering can be done with buckets or garden hoses, but it’s important to know how to water properly. The main goal is to get the water deep into the soil where the roots are, not just on the surface. Aiming the water directly at the roots or the trunk of the tree can actually cause rot and other problems.
Also, avoid saturating the soil for long periods of time, as this can suffocate growing roots. It’s best to water in the early morning or late at night when evaporation rates are lowest, as this will minimize runoff. It’s also important to water slowly to prevent erosion. If you’re unsure, we recommend having a professional irrigation service provide a consultation. For more information, see our blog on watering and soil drainage.
Many insects damage trees for just a short time each year before moving on, but some can cause permanent decline and even death if not stopped. Some insect pests destroy leaves and needles, while others disrupt the flow of nutrients or transmit disease to healthy trees. Tree and shrub insect control services can protect your landscape investments by eliminating damaging pests and mites.
A good preventive program starts with an inspection of your property by a trained technician. This includes a visual evaluation of the plant health and site conditions, as well as soil testing to ensure your plants get the proper amount of water. Then, a detailed written report is provided to identify the pests and other factors that affect your trees and shrubs.
The best way to protect your property against insect pests is through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This holistic approach to landscaping reduces the need for chemical intervention. When sprays are necessary, uses organic and low-impact pesticides, which minimize the impact to beneficial insects and wildlife.
For some insects, systemic insecticide is the best option. These treatments are applied to the ground and taken up by the roots, where they are distributed to every twig and leaf. This bottom-up approach means that even the tallest trees can receive treatment, which would be impossible with a spray.
The most important insect pest to treat in which lays waste to the leaves of all deciduous trees in our area. It’s crucial to have an expert inspect your trees and shrubs for cankerworm damage and take action to eliminate the problem before it spreads, as severe infestations can be fatal.
The proper care and treatment of trees can help maintain the beauty, value and health of your property. It also reduces the risk of tree failure and minimizes liability associated with fallen or damaged trees.
However, recognizing and addressing potential hazards of tree care requires the expertise of certified arborists. Hiring a professional tree service with the appropriate equipment and experience makes all the difference. Professionals know how to handle large machinery like wood chippers, chainsaws and cranes, understand the importance of pruning standards and carry liability insurance.
Using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) is also essential to preventing work-related injuries and illnesses. This includes helmets, eye protection and gloves. In addition, it is important to follow safety guidelines and industry standards.
Trees can pose many hazards, especially during storms and in urban areas. The best way to prevent tree damage is to monitor them regularly, especially after storms. Performing a visual inspection before starting any work on a tree can help identify problems such as:
Look for cracks or cavities in the trunk, branches, or main stem that could weaken the structure of a tree. Watch out for fungus growth, which may indicate internal decay and increase the risk of branch or tree failure. Also, check for exposed roots or excessive soil uplift that could cause root rot.