Top Tips For Tree Care
Trees are living organisms and just like every other life form on the planet needs to stay in good health to survive. A sick or dying tree in your garden can potentially be hazardous and present a danger to people and property.
In this article, we will give you some top tips on how to take care of young, or newly planted trees and older, more established trees.
Right tree, right place.
Firstly, if you are considering planting a new tree then consider if it is suitable for a chosen position. For example, trees with a higher growth potential, such as Beech, or Oak should not be planted in positions where they may prove problematic in the future, such as under power lines or close to houses. Select the appropriate species for the space you have.
Caring for a young/newly planted tree.
A new tree recently purchased from a nursery or garden centre has probably received a lot of care in it’s lifetime, such as providing water and nutrients regularly. If this care is suddenly stopped after planting it can be detrimental to the health of the tree. Instead, water regularly during the growing season after planting, being careful to not over water, which can lead to root rot. Over the next couple of years the amount of water provided can be gradually decreased as the tree becomes established. Formative pruning can be gradually introduced after 1-2 years in order to remove unwanted branches. Be careful to not remove too much in one go!
Avoid damage to the stem. protect it with rabbit guards if necessary. Guards can also protect the tree from accidental damage, such as by mowers or strimmers. Damage to the stem could affect the flow of nutrients and water around the tree causing it to die.
Mulching is extremely beneficial, particularly for young or newly planted trees. It can improve the health of tree by insulating the soil, retaining water, preventing soil compaction and keeping weeds out which will compete with the tree for water and nutrients. Be careful not to over mulch, otherwise you trap too much moisture in the soil and your tree could develop root rot or fungal infection. Avoid ‘volcano mulching’ – a trend that has erupted in recent years. This is when a mound of soil is packed around the base of the tree, but is an unhealthy method as it retains too much rainwater. Scatter organic mulch about 3 or 4 inches away from the base of the tree so that moisture sinks down to the roots.
Trees may require pruning for various reasons. They may need Crown lifting for clearance reasons, or reducing the sail area of a tree through reduction or thinning.
The most common mistakes people make with tree care is incorrect pruning. They either prune too much, or at the wrong time of year. Pruning too much of the leaf bearing branches can negatively affect the health of the tree. Avoid unnecessarily harsh pruning such as ‘topping and lopping’. This type of pruning, especially on older trees, is likely to only weaken the tree, making it more susceptible to decay.
Cutting branches too close to the trunk can also open overly large wounds which can be more susceptible to pests and disease. If you are unsure if a tree requires pruning or you would like to know if it is the correct time of year to prune a certain species then consult with a qualified arborist.
If the trees in your garden are ageing and showing signs of decay then it may be required for the dead wood to be cut away. This may be a result of a pathogen or disease which may require further inspection. You can read more about identifying dead and diseased branches in this article.
Seek professional advice.
If you have trees in your garden, or if you’re contemplating planting new trees, contact a professional tree surgeon for advice. They will be able to tell you about how to care for trees properly.