Trees are pretty self-sufficient, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a little help now and then to make sure they thrive. Furthermore, a thoughtful tree maintenance program means getting to enjoy your trees for years to come: not only does it keep your trees happy and healthy, but it may also help you avoid the need to remove a tree down the road.
The Importance of a Tree Maintenance Program
If left unchecked, trees can grow and grow until they cause problems like these:
- Their branches might interfere with electrical wires or the roof of your home.
- Branches may grow heavier on one side and the tree could lean dangerously.
- Heavy or broken branches may fall and damage property.
- As the tree grows bigger on top, the roots grow deeper to match. At some point, those roots could grow big enough to interfere with your foundation, pipes, or utility lines.
- If roots grow beneath a sidewalk or road, they could cause buckling or cracking of that paved pathway.
When it gets that bad, the only option may be to remove or transplant the tree. This can be done, of course, but that’s not always the best situation for a family who loves that tree in their yard, or for the park where that tree contributes to the beauty of the outdoor oasis. In some cases, an tree may die because it doesn’t have the resources it needs, or because it gets sick—and it’s always sad to lose an old tree that has been there longer than we have!
What’s the best option for protecting those trees? A tree maintenance program.
What Is Tree Maintenance?
There are several important aspects of a tree maintenance program.
Most simply, your tree needs water and sunlight! Every type of tree has different moisture needs, so it’s important to do some research. Over- or under-watering can create a stressful environment for the tree—and excessive stress isn’t good for trees any more than it’s good for humans!
Fertilization may also be necessary, depending upon your soil and the types of trees you have. Ensuring your trees have proper nutrients will keep them healthy and help them resist disease.
Next, we have pruning. Pruning can have a major influence on how the tree grows (or doesn’t), and there’s a lot more to it than simply lopping off the branches that stick out too far.
How we prune a tree depends upon the type of tree and what you need or want:
- You might prune to “train” your tree—for example, we can prune specifically to help a tree develop the strength to resist strong winds or specifically to encourage the growth of big branches that provide shade.
- If you’ve recently transplanted a tree, we might need to prune to compensate for any loss of roots the tree sustained in the move.
- You might need to prune after a severe storm or a heavy snowfall to remove broken branches.
- Pruning also helps promote the health of the tree—we can remove dead or diseased branches, as well as any broken pieces that present a risk to people or property if they happen to fall.
For general pruning maintenance, late winter is a good time to do it, as it will decrease the number of leaves that grow that spring.
Tree Disease Diagnosis and Treatment
Let’s talk a little more about tree disease—yes, that’s a thing. Trees are susceptible to certain illnesses as well as infestations from particular pests that ultimately kill the tree. Certain pesticides and herbicides may also damage trees.
Proper tree maintenance includes regular inspections to identify the early signs of disease or insect attack. When caught early, it may be possible to eliminate the threat and save the tree.
In some cases, a tree that is leaning or growing crookedly may not need to be removed at all. With pruning and, perhaps, cabling, we may be able to give the tree the support it needs to stay where it is despite its unusual growth pattern.
Cabling isn’t always the right solution, but when it is, it is often enough to support the tree for the rest of its life. Cabling should always be done by trained professionals; we can take a look at each unique situation and recommend cabling or removal.
How to Develop a Tree Maintenance Program
In the best case scenario, tree maintenance starts even before you plant a tree!
Choosing a Tree to Plant
You’ll want to do some research about the types of trees that will thrive in the given environment. That’s important to consider any time you plant a tree, but it’s of paramount importance when landscaping and planting a large number of trees in a park, residential complex, or golf course. The time and expense required to care for your trees can increase considerably if the plants aren’t suited to the landscape.
Caring for Existing Trees
Of course, sometimes you don’t get to plant your own trees: you enjoy the ones that have been there for decades! In that case, you’ll still want to learn more about the type of tree you have and how to best care for it in terms of water and fertilization.
Professional Tree Maintenance Programs
When it comes to pruning, disease inspection, and possible cabling or removal, call the professionals. To do it yourself, you need proper equipment as well as a little know-how; incorrect pruning, for example, can severely damage your tree. We can help you set a schedule for pruning based on the species and age of the tree as well as your unique needs and concerns. We can also conduct regular inspections for illnesses and pests, and give you tips and best practices for caring for your trees.
And if there comes a day when transplanting a tree is the best option, we can do that for you, too.
For more information about a tree maintenance program for your home, business, or public space, please contact us. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you get started with a program that works for you and your trees.