Tree care includes many services, including pruning, fertilization, disease control, and planting. A qualified Certified Arborist is the best resource for managing trees.
It is essential to monitor street trees regularly to check for potential problems. A good rule is “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Good health is the first line of defense against problems.
Trees are one of the most beautiful and majestic natural features in our landscapes. They add to the beauty of our properties, enhance curb appeal and increase property values. But just like any living thing, they require a little care to keep them healthy and looking their best. Pruning is one of the most important parts of a tree or shrub maintenance program. It removes dead or diseased branches, reduces overgrowth, improves air circulation, increases flower and fruit production, and improves the overall health of the plant.
Pruning is a complex art that involves specific cutting techniques and timing. It’s best left to qualified arborists and tree care professionals who have the experience and equipment to safely remove large branches. The best time to prune is in the late dormant season when the plant is less likely to be damaged by the cuts.
Different pruning goals call for different methods. The most common pruning practice is thinning the crown, which removes live branches to lower the density of the canopy, allowing more sunlight penetration and reducing stress on selected limbs from gravity, wind, ice and snow. Another type of pruning is selective removals to shape a plant or to create highly specialized garden forms such as espaliers, topiaries and pollards.
Without regular pruning, plants may grow too tall or wide for the space they are in and become a safety hazard, especially when they hang over homes or cars. They can also block gutters, shed large amounts of debris or interfere with power lines and other structures. Proper pruning allows trees and shrubs to develop a mature appearance, improve the structure of a landscape, and contribute to the value of your property.
Mulching is one of the most beneficial tree care practices a homeowner can undertake. It helps retain soil moisture, regulates soil temperature, suppresses weed growth and enriches the soil. It also minimizes soil erosion. Mulch is especially important around young trees to help them establish roots, grow faster and become more resilient to environmental stressors.
Mulch can be made from a wide variety of materials, including wood chips, compost, pine needles, cottonseed hulls, peat moss and leaves. Arborists prefer organic mulches such as these, which decompose, adding valuable nutrients to the soil. Inorganic mulches, such as gravel and river rock, do not provide the same benefits and can create a problem by retaining heat, which may stunt or kill plants.
When used properly, mulch is a vital part of the health and well-being of the urban forest. It can improve soil moisture, fertility and temperature, control weeds, reduce insect damage, disease, soil erosion and compaction.
In a natural forest, a tree sinks its roots into soil that is enriched with organic matter and microbes. When the organic matter breaks down, it becomes a rich, aerated medium for root growth and storage of sugars produced through photosynthesis. In the city, mulch is often required to compensate for abiotic factors that inhibit or prevent deep root penetration.
When using mulch, it is important to avoid piling it up against the trunk of a tree. A tanbark or wood chip mulch that is not more than 2-3 inches deep is ideal, extending out to the edge of the canopy or drip line (the area where water from the tree dribbles out). Deeper layers can prevent the root system from absorbing needed oxygen. Also, too much mulch can encourage rodents such as voles and mice to tunnel under the mulch for shelter. This can result in the gnawing of the inner bark and phloem tissue, slowing the tree’s growth and causing root girdling, which can lead to death.
Water is vital to a tree’s health. It helps it grow and fend off disease, droughts and insect attacks. It also helps a tree to absorb other nutrients and soil moisture.
The amount of water a tree needs depends on species, age, soil type and other factors. Newly planted trees and those in sandy soil need more water than mature trees or those in clay soil.
It is important to water a tree in a way that promotes deep root growth and discourages root rot. This is accomplished by watering thoroughly and infrequently. Watering the entire root zone of a tree, as well as the area around it that is shaded by its canopy (the drip zone) is crucial to tree health. Water should be applied slowly to avoid runoff and surface saturation. A soaker hose or drip irrigation system is ideal, as it minimizes runoff and ensures thorough soil saturation.
Using mulch in the root zone helps retain soil moisture, reduces weed competition and regulates soil temperature. Irrigation controllers that monitor soil moisture allow you to adjust watering frequency based on real-time soil conditions, conserving water while meeting the needs of the plant.
Signs of water stress in a tree include wilting leaves, discoloration, cracking bark and general ill health. Regular monitoring of your property and identifying signs of potential problems can save serious damage or even tree loss.
Trees are vulnerable to insects that damage them by consuming leaves, stems and fruit. Invasive pests like aphids, scale insects and Japanese beetles can wreak havoc on plant health by defoliating or boring into trees. They can also suck sap and introduce fungal diseases that can harm or kill a tree.
Our Murray based Tree Services professional can protect your trees by conducting regular inspections and monitoring for signs of insect infestation or disease. Early detection often means preventing the need for drastic measures or removal.
We will check the foliage, branches and trunk of a symptomatic tree for evidence of pests or disease. We then recommend a regimen of control and prevention treatments that are specific to the tree and its species. In some cases, we may recommend horticultural oil or soap treatments, soil injections of fertilizer or other techniques that can improve growing conditions and help the tree resist pests and diseases.
Systemic insecticides are more effective than sprays when dealing with certain types of insects. Unlike sprays that drift off target, systemic insecticides are absorbed by the roots of the tree and carried throughout the plant. This allows us to treat large trees with thick canopies, such as Elms, without wasting product on the ground or in nearby vegetation.
Regular hydration, proper mulching and regular pruning keep trees healthy and strong, which helps them resist pests and diseases. But even the best-maintained trees can suffer from the stress of insects and diseases, especially during summer. With regular monitoring and preventive care, we can help your trees stay beautiful and healthy all year round. Contact our local independently owned and operated Tree Services locations today for more information on preventive maintenance and insect/pest/disease control.
Trees and shrubs are prone to disease and pest infestation, so proper maintenance is crucial. This includes regularly inspecting your property for signs of a problem. Many diseases are difficult to identify without the help of a professional, but quick action can prevent the spread of infection.
The most common disease problems affect leaves, fruit, roots, flowers and twigs. Many can be treated with foliar applications of different controls, while others can only be controlled by using systemic injections that reach the interior vascular tissues. Sanitation through pruning to remove infected branches and mummified fruit, and regular removal of dead twigs and branches are key preventive measures.
In addition to disease control, the overall health of your trees can be improved through a combination of cultural practices and fertilization. Proper watering, mulching, and pruning can reduce stress, which makes plants more susceptible to disease. Planting disease-resistant varieties can also lower susceptibility. Additionally, sanitary pruning and sanitation practices (cleaning tools between uses) can limit the spread of infection.