Many times, it is the trees around a home that make it home. The greenery around the house, the shade they provide, and sometimes, it is that certain shadow that one tree casts through an open curtain. Therefore, knowing proper tree care is important for a homeowner.
Growing up, you may have noticed grandpa or dad “cleaning up” a tree, but you probably didn’t pay that much attention to what they were doing, or how. Today, tree care now seems to be more important because our climate and environment differ from what they once were. There are companies that specialize in tree care and landscapes and offer tree care consulting to homeowners.
Is tree care that much more complicated than back when grandpa cleaned up his trees? We have answers to some common questions about tree care. Because if you want to “clean up” your trees, there is a right way and an incorrect way to do that if you want your trees to stay alive and beautiful, casting that shadow through an open curtain ….
What does a tree need to survive?
Like animals and humans, there are many things that trees need to grow and survive. They need nutrients, sunlight, and water. And like animals and humans, when we don’t have these three things, trees quit growing and will ultimately die.
Unlike animals and humans, trees can’t move and relocate to find their own tree care and the necessities for survival. They only have what is available to them where they stand, so if the nutrients disappear, the water evaporates, and the sun was to quit shining, it will cut trees lifeline off, slowly killing them.
How do you trim a tree without killing it?
If you’re not comfortable or equipped to trim your trees with proper tree care, before you do any damage and harm to the tree, your house, or yourself, you can always call a professional for your tree care needs. They have the proper tree care equipment and know-how to use it all. If you’re insistent on doing it yourself though, here are some tips:
First, you should do tree trimming in the winter while they are asleep and dormant for correct tree care. All their sap is at the roots, so trimming now, as the sap moves upward when spring arrives, the cuts will heal. There aren’t as many active diseases, fungi, and insects in the winter either to attack the open cuts.
How do you prune a tree?
- First to begin your tree care, address the four Ds by removing them: Dead, Dying, Diseased, and Decaying. If you aren’t sure which branch is dead, scratch the bark. If there is green there, it isn’t dead.
- Establish the central leader of the tree: This is the healthiest, straightest, tallest stem that is in line with the trunk. Any branches that are taller and thicker, angled close to the trunk, are competing branches and need to be removed to provide the best tree care possible.
- Find the lowest permanent branch. The lowest permanent branch will be half as thick as the tree trunk and shouldn’t be any lower than 14 feet over the street or 8 feet over the sidewalk and growing away from the trunk.
- Follow the central leader branch down the tree and any branches that are too close together, clip them off, leaving larger, stronger branches. Any branches that cross over other branches, remove or trim them back in order to provide good tree care.
- Any branches are lower than your permanent branch that is one-third the size of the trunk should be removed.
How can I make my tree healthy again?
Trees get sick just like any other living thing. They suffer from adverse weather, disease, environmental stress, insects, and other issues can cause that sickness. However, if that sickness is addressed, it can be saved. However, we can interfere too soon with our goal of good tree care. Trees have a way of healing themselves. So, the first thing you can do to make a tree healthy again is to wait and see if it heals itself.
When the time is right to intervene, these five steps will help you get your tree healthy again:
- Identify: Before you can save your tree, you must identify the problem which can be challenging. If you can’t find anything right away, you need to call an arborist to have completed extensive training and gained knowledge that enables them to diagnose problems and successfully provide tree care that will treat the problems.
- Watering: Yes, tree care includes water, but moisture can cause making your tree sick, either too little water or too much water. A tree needs to have good drainage, but if the weather is dry and hot, then make sure it gets water.
- Mulch: Mulch around trees looks good, but for proper tree care, it can also be harmful to the trees. You can apply it too thick and it should not be right against the tree trunk. The roots need to breathe and too much mulch can create bacterial, fungi, and rot while attracting insects.
- Fertilizer: Fertilizer is good for the yard but it not good for tree care. Regardless of what the packaging says about the lawn fertilizer, you use in your yard, avoid getting it too close to the trees. Never fertilize a tree that you think is sick without consulting with an arborist to get the best advice on tree care.
- Pruning: To save an unhealthy tree, do your research before you prune is important for proper tree care. Visible diseased areas on a tree that is healthy everywhere else have to be pruned with care to remove the diseased parts and save the tree. Part of proper tree care includes destroying any diseased branches so that it doesn’t keep spreading and sterilize your tree pruning equipment.
How much do you water a new tree?
Water is important for a tree’s growth, which we’ve discussed earlier in this piece. It is also possible to over-water. So, while you need to be diligent about watering your tree, the first year is especially important, you want to be cautious about how much water. The basic rule for tree care watering, but you may need to adjust this based on the climate and area where you live is every three to four days: five gallons of water, not to exceed more than ten to fifteen gallons a week.
Trees can be a wonderful addition to a home, when in the right place. Know the characteristics of a tree before you plant a new one. This will help you determine how close to the house it should be (or shouldn’t) and what other outdoor life it thrives around or could kill. Need tree care in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX? Reach out to the experts at MDM Landscapes when you call 817-396-0125!