The trees on your property provide shade, protection against the wind, and natural beauty. Here are a few things you can do to keep trees around your home healthy throughout the year.
Keep Trees Around Your Home Healthy by Pruning
Pruning involves removing certain branches, with the goal of improving or stabilizing the tree’s health. Here are a few reasons pruning is important:
- Removing dead or diseased branches helps prevent decay.
- Thinning the density of the canopy brings light and airflow to other plants.
- Eliminating weak branches helps prevent breakage in high winds.
- Removing small branches keeps water and nutrients flowing to the strong branches.
- Trimming low-hanging or damaged branches eliminates safety hazards.
- Pruning stimulates growth in areas where it’s desired.
When should you prune? Most trees are best trimmed during the dormant season, which is usually from December through the first part of March. However, trees that bloom in early spring may need to be trimmed after blooming to prevent growth issues.
Pruning is an essential task to keep trees around your home healthy. Arborists recommend cutting branches just above the branch collar, which is a slightly raised area around the base of the branch. Flush cutting is too deep and leaving a stub is too high. Both leave the area prone to rot and decay.
Water, Fertilize, and Mulch
After planting a tree, you will need to water it for the first few months. This helps it to establish its root system and to recover from transplant shock. Once the tree’s established, you can taper off watering if you receive regular rainfall. Ideally, your tree will obtain sufficient water from rain. You should only have to supplement by watering if there’s a drought.
Fertilizing a newly planted tree will help it grow quickly and fill out the landscape. You won’t need to fertilize a fully grown tree to keep it healthy. If the tree is showing signs of stress, such as discolored leaves, branch dieback, or earlier than normal fall coloring, determine why it is stressed and correct that problem first. Fertilizer can then be used to bring the plant back to a healthy condition.
Mulching is an essential step to keep trees around your home healthy. It helps the soil retain moisture and keeps weeds from growing around the base of the tree. Keep the mulch at least 3 inches away from the trunk to prevent rot.
Protecting Trees Around Your Home
Pruning, water, and mulch will keep the tree in good health. However, you will also need to take measures to prevent damage to the tree. Protection is important to keep trees around your home healthy.
- Remove any vines growing on the tree. They block sunlight and steal moisture.
- Install a trunk guard to keep rodents away and to prevent damage from weed whackers or lawn mowers.
- Inspect trees regularly to look for signs of damage.
Thoughtful tree care will keep trees around your home healthy and strong for decades to come.