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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pruning removes dead or damaged branches. It shapes trees and promotes growth. Prune sparingly in fall or early spring.
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.
Mulch insulates soil, reduces weeds, and helps retain moisture. Apply 2-4 inches around the root zone. Keep mulch back from the trunk.
Wood chips, shredded bark, leaves, or pine needles make excellent organic mulch. They improve soil texture as they decompose.
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.
Look for chewed leaves, needles, buds, bark, nuts, and cones. Watch for caterpillars, beetles, and bugs.
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.