A healthy tree isn’t just about looks, it’s also about safety. While a healthy tree will improve the exterior appearance of your home; a damaged, diseased or dying tree will do more than affect the look of your landscape. A tree that is unhealthy can topple over, which creates a safety issue for your home and your family. Furthermore, an unhealthy tree is the perfect environment for unwanted and potentially dangerous pests, such as bees and snakes. Thankfully, you can take preventive measures to help ensure every tree in your yard is healthy and well-maintained.
Protect the Bark
Think of the bark as the living armor of the tree, which protects the plant from bacterial and fungal infections that could seriously harm it. Unfortunately, too many people don’t know just how important the tree bark really is. When the bark is damaged, bacterial and fungal pathogens can enter the tree and cause an infection that leads to rot on the inside. Common bark damage occurs from lawn equipment, vehicles, sprinkler heads, and branches rubbing together. The good news is that you can easily prevent these bark damaging culprits from harming your tree by merely keeping them in mind during your daily life. For example, when mowing or weed eating, take care not to let the equipment come in contact with the tree.
Properly Prune the Tree
Pruning can help keep crossing branches from rubbing each other, which can result in wounds to the bark, and helps remove broken or dead branches. The best time to prune the tree is during the dormant season before new growth begins. When removing branches, do so using clean cuts with clean pruning shears. This will allow the tree to self-heal and reduce the chance of introducing contaminates, such as bacteria, into the cuts.
Watering is an important aspect that most homeowners overlook since the weather typically does this for them. However, when the weather isn’t providing enough rain to properly sustain the tree, you could be left with a dead or dying plant. During drought conditions or extreme summer heat, water the trees infrequently but deeply. An occasional deep soak is much better for the tree than frequent misting, which does little to no good. A tree that receives proper watering is more resilient to stressful situations, such as those experienced during a drought. Furthermore, well-watered trees are less susceptible to infestations and infections.
Keep the Soil Healthy
If you take a look at a forest, you will notice that the trees are growing just fine without the help of humans. This is because of many reasons; one being the decaying layer of organic matter that is enriching the soil around the plants. Furthermore, the layer of leaves and organic debris covering the soil helps to retain moisture and protect plant roots. Unfortunately, most residential areas don’t have the beneficial organic debris lining their yard that helps create a healthy soil. You can, however, recreate this process by adding a layer of mulch around the trees (only up to a couple of inches deep). The mulch should extend out away from the trunk to the tree’s drip line.
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