Trees are sturdy and highly self-sufficient, but contrary to popular belief, they require maintenance in order to look, feel, and function their best. If you’re wondering how to keep your trees healthy, check out these simple tips. They’ll make sure your trees last for years—if not decades—to come.
Just like your vegetables and flowers, trees require water. Mature trees need one inch of water per week, while younger trees use up anywhere between four to ten gallons. If it’s been several weeks since it last rained, give your tree something to drink. Chances are it’s thirsty. A simple spray-down with a hose should be sufficient, as should a nice, long pour from a watering can.
Trim and Prune Their Branches
Another way to keep your trees healthy is to trim and prune them. Regular trimming and pruning make your trees look nice, improve their structure, and remove degraded, unsafe deadwood. Major pruning is recommended for late fall or early winter, after the tree has shed its leaves. Summers are ideal for basic maintenance, such as clearing out smaller trees or worn-down bark segments.
If done poorly, however, trimming and pruning can negatively affect your tree’s health. If you’re worried about making mistakes, it’s best to hire a professional tree trimmer. It’s safer, easier, and more cost-effective. You can also try an expert tree pruning service Chicago.
Mulch insulates your tree’s roots and protects them from brittle, dry soil. Mulch bags are inexpensive, and you can buy them from a local garden center or landscape supply company. Before applying a layer of mulch, you’ll want to dig up the grass surrounding the tree. Dig two to four inches deep to ensure you remove not only the blades of grass, but also their roots. Bigger shovels are more efficient, but if it’s easier, you can sit in a chair and use a smaller, handheld shovel.
Once the area around the tree is clear, spread the mulch. Apply two to four inches—the same amount you dug up—around the tree. Refrain from placing the mulch too close to the tree’s trunk. Keeping it five or more inches away will prevent unwanted pests such as termites from gathering in the moist soil.
Don’t Forget the Fertilizer
In the wild, trees get all the nutrition they need, but in the yard, it’s a bit more complicated. People constantly mow their yards, spray pesticides, and do other regular maintenance that removes common nutrients such as leaves. Applying a slow-release fertilizer to the soil beneath your tree will keep your trees fed, happy, and healthy.
However, be wary of overfertilizing. Apply fertilizer sparingly and with caution. Fertilizer is ideal for younger trees, but it can be damaging to ones that are more than five years old.