Healthy Trees Are Happy Trees: Keep Yours Strong

Posted on: 12 September 2014

There are a lot of things that can kill a tree: drought, insects, disease and human damage are just a few of them. While you can't protect your trees from everything that comes their way, you can take some steps to make them healthier. A healthy tree has a much better chance of surviving when adversity strikes, so take some time to make yours as strong as you can.

Don't overdo taking care of tress

The good news is that when it comes to keeping trees healthy, 'less is more' is the motto to live by. Healthy mature trees actually need very little help to stay that way.

When you prune them, for example, only take out dead branches or shoots that come from the base of the tree. Also look for any that might cause rubbing or damage to other branches, and also those that might damage your home or power lines. Pruning too much can damage a healthy tree.

Fruit bearing trees are a different story. These may need more significant pruning based on the condition and type of tree. Water sprouts are the new-growth shoots that can overcrowd your branches and cause them to bear less fruit. These need to be thinned out as much as possible.

Mulch, mulch and more mulch

Mulch is good for your trees. If they are not in a heavily wooded area, they won't have that natural ecosystem to protect them. Using mulch can help keep moisture in and keep weeds and fungi away from your tree trunk. Always use natural materials like wood chips, pine needles, straw or cocoa hulls (if you have dogs, cocoa hulls can be deadly to them, so pick something else).

Do not place the mulch right up against the tree, as this can create too much moisture on the bark. Start a few inches away and spread a 2- to 4-inch thickness of mulch in a circle that extends to the drip line or at least in a 3-foot radius around the trunk. The drip line is the imaginary line as far out as the branches extend. This circle, or donut, of mulch will also make it easier to cut your lawn since you won't have to get so close to the trees. It will also keep you from spreading damaging herbicides on your tree roots.

Water in moderation

Too much moisture can actually be worse for some trees than no water at all. Unless your trees are very young (less than 4 years old) they probably can find water all by themselves. In fact, trees that are used to drier climates can actually be starved of oxygen by too much water.

The same can be said for fertilizers. Mature trees can usually find the nutrients they need without your help.

With some common sense and a 'hands-off' approach to tree care, you can help them stay strong and healthy. Inspect them regularly for signs of insect infestations and diseases, of course, but for the most part you should let them fend for themselves.If you find signs of insect infestations, contact a local tree insect control company like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc.