Trees are an important part of any landscape. They provide shade, clean the air, prevent erosion, and give wildlife a home. As a homeowner, it’s essential to keep your trees healthy, so they continue providing these benefits for years to come. Here are some tips for maintaining the health of trees on your property.

Assess Tree Health Regularly

The first step is checking on your trees throughout the seasons. Look for any signs of disease, damage, or decline. Some things to look for include:

Leaf Problems

Unhealthy leaves can indicate issues. Wilting, spotting, early fall color, loss of leaves, or small leaves can all be causes for concern. Inspect leaves closely for insects or signs of fungal infections.

Tree Leaning or Lopsided

If the tree is leaning or branches are lopsided, this could mean root damage. Underground root rot is a common issue.

Bark Damage

Wounds, canker sores, holes, or discoloration on the bark can allow disease or insects inside the tree. Monitor these areas for worsening.

Lack of New Growth

Healthy trees produce new growth each year. Little or no new leaves, shoots, or branches may signal ill health.

Water Trees Appropriately

Trees need water to transport nutrients. Insufficient water weakens trees and makes them prone to pests and disease.

Signs of Under watering

Drooping or wilting leaves, early fall color, leaf scorch, and leaf drop indicate under-watering. Trees will show signs of drought stress.

Prevent Overwatering

Too much moisture deprives roots of oxygen. Symptoms include sparse foliage, small leaves, fungal growth, roots near the surface, and dying branches.

Water Slowly and Deeply

Water should soak into the ground slowly. Watering too quickly can cause runoff. Aim for deep watering to encourage deep root growth.

Consider Tree Type

Some trees need more water than others. Know the needs of species on your property. Native trees tend to be adapted to local rainfall.

Water in Fall

Late fall watering helps trees prep for winter. Continue watering until the ground freezes.

Fertilize Judiciously

Fertilizer provides nutrients but is not a cure-all. Get a soil test first to ID specific needs.

Fertilize in Early Spring

Apply fertilizer as growth starts in spring, so nutrients are readily available as leaves flush out. Avoid late spring applications.

Pick Organic Options

Organic fertilizers break down slowly over time. Chemical fertilizers can shock tree roots or leach away rapidly.

Focus on Micronutrients

Trees mainly need small amounts of micronutrients like zinc, manganese, iron, copper, boron, molybdenum, and chlorine. Nitrogen and phosphorus are lesser needs.

Avoid Heavy Fertilizing

Light, frequent fertilizing is best. Heavy fertilizing stresses trees and can burn roots. Follow label rates.

Prune Carefully

Pruning removes dead or damaged branches. It shapes trees and promotes growth. Prune sparingly in fall or early spring.

Disinfect Tools

Clean tools between trees to prevent disease spread. Use rubbing alcohol or bleach solution.

Know When to Prune

Take out broken, dead, or hazardous branches anytime. Limit large pruning to dormant seasons.

Make Proper Cuts

Cut just outside the branch collar without leaving stubs. Don’t cut the collar or trunk.

Hire an Arborist

For large trees or complicated pruning, hire a professional. Improper pruning harms trees. Check certifications.

Use Mulch

Mulch insulates soil, reduces weeds, and helps retain moisture. Apply 2-4 inches around the root zone. Keep mulch back from the trunk.

Organic Mulches

Wood chips, shredded bark, leaves, or pine needles make excellent organic mulch. They improve soil texture as they decompose.

Inorganic Mulches

Rock, gravel, or rubber mulches don’t break down. They reflect heat and keep soil warmer. Use below plantings, not against trunks.

Replace Old Mulch

Refresh mulch annually, in early spring. If old mulch piles up, pull it back before adding new layers.

Mulch Wide Areas

Extend mulch out to the tree’s drip line or beyond. Deep roots will grow in mulched areas.

Check for Pests

Inspect trees routinely for signs of damaging insects or diseases. Act quickly to avoid widespread issues.

Chewing Insects

Look for chewed leaves, needles, buds, bark, nuts, and cones. Watch for caterpillars, beetles, and bugs.

Piercing-Sucking Insects

Signs include yellowed foliage, leaf curling, branch dieback, or oozing sap. Look for aphids, psyllids, scale, etc.

Wood and Bark Borers

Holes in bark and frass indicate boring pests. Keep trees healthy to prevent infestations.


Fungal diseases cause spots, rusts, blights, wilts, mold, cankers, and root rot. Diagnose and treat quickly.

Hire an Arborist

For major pest issues, call a professional. Certified arborists can safely apply treatments and pesticides.

Call a Tree Doctor for Help

If your trees show signs of illness, don’t hesitate to call a professional. The tree doctor Salt Lake City experts can diagnose issues accurately and recommend organic treatments that promote tree health. Invest in professional care to maximize your landscape investment and keep your trees thriving for generations.

With some vigilance and proactive care, you can maintain healthy, vibrant trees on your property. Follow these tips to catch problems early and prevent major tree declines. Give your trees the care they need to continue growing beautifully for years to come.