Trees are the most important and multipurpose parts of any landscape – natural, or professionally scaped. They provide us with shade and can cut energy costs quite dramatically in some climates. They can boost the value of a property as well as prevent soil erosion, not to mention their air-purifying abilities. They are a safe space for wildlife that continues to try and live alongside us and add a beautiful, calming energy to everyday life.
This being said, few people attribute these important factors about trees to the organisms when they see them. They often slip into the background, and we forget how important it is to maintain trees in our gardens. It is essential to their health as a well-maintained tree will live longer. Here is a simple guide to properly maintain the trees in your garden.
Plant the Right Tree
This is a classic case of prevention is the best precaution. If you are planting new trees, planting the right sort of tree, to begin with, means that you avoid a lot of difficulties in the future. This ensures that you are able to get years of enjoyment out of your tree of choice. Rather than choosing a popular tree, choose one that is indigenous and well suited to your climate as well as the type of soil in your area. You might want to look into the sort of trees you have in your garden and change them for a more water-wise, indigenous alternative. For example, if you have Cyprus growing in your garden and it is not local to your region, you might want to consider removing Cyprus trees from the property and replacing them with something else. A local nursery will be able to give you all of the information you need regarding this.
Protect the Roots
Heavy machinery and cars should not drive over the root areas of trees. These areas are compacted and are oxygen-poor, which can kill roots. Also, do not add or remove soil from the base of trees. Consult a professional if this is your desire. It can harm its roots and weaken the trees, again, resulting in them dying, or becoming susceptible to damage.
Pruning strengthens the structure of your trees. Be sure to research how to prune your specific tree as certain trees are very particular about how they are pruned. Thinning as opposed to cutting along the length of a branch is preferable. Pruning should happen at the right time. Pruning at the wrong time can lead to weakness and even death for trees.
Remove Support Stakes
This is another tip to make future tree maintenance a breeze. Take out the wooden stake that is holding the trunk upright. If it is unable to stand by itself, simply use the two-stake method. Loosely secure the tree between a stake on either side of the trunk so that the trunk can strengthen naturally as it sways in the wind. This will ensure that it is strong and will not fall down in strong wind in the future.
Young and old trees all need regular watering, especially during droughts. One needs to water trees deeply so that the roots are saturated. Imagine a line that spreads out to the perimeter of the canopy of the tree. This is a good representation of where the root zone is. Saturate the soil for a few feet and let dry completely before you water again. Drip irrigation is the best option for this as it really permeates the soil. A sprinkler system might not cut it.
Feed Your Trees
You need to feed your trees. There is an incorrect assumption that trees need to be fed once a year. Young trees need to be fed more frequently, but mature trees often don’t need any fertilization once they are established. You should only feed trees if they are lacking in nutrients. A soil test will be able to determine this for you.
Mulch Your Garden
A layer of organic mulch is just what the doctor ordered. Mulch cools the soil and keeps it moist.
Protect the Trunk
Avoid damaging the bark on the tree. Bumping into trunks with weed-eaters, or lawn movers can weaken the structural integrity of a tree quite astronomically. It also opens the tree up to infections like a disease, or an insect infestation. Keep grass away from the base of trees as it will stop you from needing to cut it back. Mulch around the base to keep it neat.
There you have it. Here are a few tips to keep your trees looking good and staying healthy. If you have any concerns, consult a nursery or a local arborist.