In comparison to flowers, shrubs, and herbs, trees are self-sufficient plants. You don't have to water them daily or cover them before a frost. But while trees are fairly low-maintenance, many homeowners should pay a bit more attention to their trees. Better tree care leads to safer, more beautiful, longer-lived trees. Here are four ways to take better care of your trees as a homeowner.
1. Have Your Trees Trimmed Once a Year
Don't wait until you see a lot of dead branches to have your trees trimmed. The easiest, most effective approach is to make an appointment with an arborist once a year for tree trimming. Do this in the winter or early spring because this is the safest time to trim most trees. While on-site, your arborist can look over every tree, trim those that need to be trimmed, and pass by those that do not need attention.
Regular tree trimming offers several benefits:
- Fewer dead branches are around to attract pests and bugs.
- Well-trimmed tree branches stay dryer and less prone to fungal infection.
- Regular trimming helps trees maintain an attractive shape.
Although most hardwood and coniferous trees don't need to be trimmed every year, having your arborist come out once a year ensures any problems are caught and dealt with early.
2. Mulch Around Young Trees
Wood mulch around the base of trees - especially young trees - offers several benefits. Mulch keeps weeds from growing near the tree's trunk so that rodents and other pests don't hide in the weeds and chew the tree's bark. Mulch also traps moisture in the soil, giving your tree access to more water when rain has been scarce. Wood mulch slowly breaks down over time, imparting nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil for the tree to use.
When mulching around your trees, avoid forming the mulch into a mound, as this encourages water to drain away from the tree's base. Apply only two to three inches of mulch in a broad circle around the tree, but don't let the mulch touch the trunk directly. If mulch is touching the tree, it could lead to trunk rot.
3. Source Firewood Locally
Many homeowners have accidentally infected their trees with Dutch elm disease, thousand cankers disease, and other diseases by bringing the wrong firewood onto their property. Larvae and insects that spread these dangerous diseases can hide out in firewood and then infect your trees once on your property.
To avoid infecting your trees, always source your firewood locally. Do not accept any firewood that shows signs of mold, insect infestation, or larval growth. Wood that has been heat-treated to kill pests is the best choice.
4. Provide Water in a Drought
Trees have pretty extensive root systems and can survive a long time without rainfall. However, there is a difference between surviving and thriving. If you want to keep your trees as healthy and vibrant as possible, consider watering them during a period of drought.
To tell whether a tree needs water, poke a screwdriver into the ground a few feet from the tree's trunk. If the screwdriver does not go in at least six inches, the soil is too dry, and you should water your tree. Wet the area around the tree with a soaker hose, letting it run for at least an hour or until you can insert a screwdriver six to eight inches into the ground.
With annual trimming, mulch, watering, and more careful firewood practices, your trees will remain in great health. Contact Schuman's Tree Service Inc. if you're looking for a reliable tree care company in the Savannah area.