Tree Care Tips

Read About Proper Tree Care Techniques

How to Keep Your Trees Healthy

Proper Mulching Techniques

  • Applying a two to four-inch layer of organic mulch can mimic a more natural environment and improve plant health.
  • Too much mulch or mulch against the trunk can cause an anaerobic environment that harms the tree. Top dressing is OK if the total depth doesn't exceed four inches.
  • Organic mulches including wood chips, shredded bark, cocoa hulls, composted leaves, pine needles, and other plant-derived products are preferred to inorganic materials like rock and rubber.
  • Remember, the best mulching isn't deep but it is spread wide. The closer we come to mimicking nature, the better for the tree.
Tree Mulching Diagram
Tree Planting Diagram

New Tree Planting Tips

  • Make the planting hole as much as three times the diameter of the root mass but only as deep as the root flare.
  • Pre-measure the depth of the hole to the root flare. Raising the tree once it is placed in the planting hole is rather difficult.
  • Before backfilling, use a spotter to confirm the tree is straight.
  • Remove all foreign material (pot, burlap, wire, etc.) before backfilling.
  • Backfill with approximately 1/3 of the soil and pack the soil in firmly. Fill the rest of the way alternating with soil and water to eliminate air pockets.
  • Stake the tree if necessary, but remove the stakes after one growing season.
  • Keep the soil moist but not soaked. Approximately one inch of water per week is an excellent guideline to follow.
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Tree Pruning Tips

  • The three-cut method is the preferable method of tree pruning. This involves an undercut about six inches away from the trunk, a top cut just in front of the undercut, then a finish cut back to the branch collar.
  • Most trees can be pruned at any time of year. However, there are disease-sensitive species such as oak and elm that should be pruned during dormancy (fall-late winter). Fruit tree pruning is also best done during dormancy.
  • The quantity of pruning is dependent on the tree. Young trees in prime condition can tolerate removal of up to 25% of their living tissue annually.
  • Wound dressings (pruning paint) were once thought to help speed wound closure. Research has shown this not to be the case and most likely the opposite results.
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Tree Pruning Tips
What are the benefits of trees?

Benefits of Trees

  • Deciduous trees placed on the south and west sides of the house provide shade and can lower air conditioning costs by 10-15%.
  • Street trees provide shade and cover for paved surfaces reducing run-off and reflected heat.
  • Property values of landscaped homes are 5-20% higher than those of non-landscaped homes.
  • Vegetative screens can be planted as visual and sound barriers.
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