For any property, trees provide a variety of services. Their shade helps decrease heating and cooling bills, and their roots are an important part of the yard’s ecosystem that help prevent erosion.
In terms of the house’s resale value, trees might not add to the property’s overall value in hard dollars and cents, but they do create curb appeal, increasing the number of potential buyers that might express interest. Finally, in addition to being healthy for the environment, healthy trees actually contribute to lower stress in the homeowners. Because of their wide-ranging impact, keeping them healthy is critical.
Every month or so, you should walk around your trees, looking for signs of damage or disease. Doing so will help you identify any part of the tree that can either be saved or pruned.
Additionally, following a rainstorm or snowstorm, you should conduct an inspection for broken limbs or hanging branches. Hanging branches should be pruned immediately as they might pose a hazard for nearby buildings or pets.
Because your non-professional eye might not be able to identify disease, you should schedule an annual or bi-annual inspection by a professional arborist.
Fertilization helps provide nitrogen and other required nutrients. Especially for younger trees, fertilizer helps boost the tree’s ability to fend off pests and disease.
Fertilizing also helps with overall coverage throughout the canopy by helping to increase the size of the leaves. Malnourished trees, for instance, display undersized leaves that also might have thick, dark veins.
Proactive pruning helps rid a tree of smaller branches that can drain a tree of its nutritious resources. In fact, an overabundance of smaller shoots can stunt a tree. Pruning, however, helps re-divert all the nutrients back to the main branches and trunks. Doing so allows for greater height and reach, increasing the tree’s ability to cover and provide shade.
That said, reactive pruning is also necessary. You should prune trees if a branch has been broken or damaged. Additionally, if a section of the tree shows signs of dying, pruning the smaller branches–or even the larger ones–can help save the tree and prevent anything from spreading.
If the canopy becomes too thick, it actually can starve the grass or other trees. To address this, you can prune the branches throughout the canopy to increase sunlight. Finally, if the tree becomes too thick, so to speak, filled with branches and leaves, it creates more air resistance, increasing the possibility it can be damaged by the wind. Pruning opens up airways in such a way that even strong gusts of winds are less likely to damage your tree.
The best tool for pruning is a pole saw as it can cut through even thick branches. In order to get one that works best and is of high quality, make sure to read the pole saw reviews.
Mulching serves to help the ground around the tree retain water. In doing so, the tree has a more steady supply of water. This will help create more steady growth throughout the year and increase overall health. In addition to steadying the supply of water, mulch keeps the roots moist. Finally, mulch actually serves as an insulation against dry, hot months and cold, harsh winter days.
Depending on your tree, it will likely need a variety of protections to keep it at peak health. For instance, you can spray the leaves regularly to keep it free of aphids. If you have an ash tree, you can purchase poison spikes that kill the emerald ash borer without harming the tree. Caterpillars are a seasonal blight that can strip a tree of its leaves, so it is important to remove nests and burn them should they appear.
In terms of the Japanese beetle, you can spread beneficial nematodes in the mulch and around the tree. Doing so will help kill the larva. In terms of getting rid of the adult beetle, you can shake lower hanging branches each morning and kill the beetles that fall to the ground. To kill ones you cannot find, you can place pheromone traps around the property.
Common pests and the trees they target include the following:
- black turpentine beetle: pine trees
- fall web worm: infest over 100 species of trees
- forest tent caterpillar: hardwood trees
- gypsy moth: oak trees
Each tree will be home to a particular type of pest. You can simply research the types of tree pests that are common for your trees and take the recommended actions.