Eighty thousand acres of forests disappear every day.
Seven hundred pounds of paper are used by the average American citizen every day.
At the current rate of deforestation, all the world’s rainforests will disappear in a hundred years.
These facts are scary, but they, unfortunately, are real.
As the environment changes and adjusts to these losses, it is becoming more and more critical to protect the trees we have under our care. We must ensure their survival for future generations so they can enjoy their shade, fruits, and beauty too.
But what do you do if your trees get an infestation, or if the weather changes drastically? Worse yet, what do you do if you live in a region that has seasonal wildfires, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, or hurricanes?
Read on to find out how to achieve and maintain healthy trees. With the proper resources and determination, you too can enjoy the wonder of nature.
Table of Contents
What Do Trees Need to Be Healthy?
For your tree to thrive, practice these tree maintenance tips to keep them growing strong all year long.
The Quick Fixes:
These are the care tasks you should practice regularly.
1. Keep your trees adequately watered.
Make sure that your tree has an adequate water source. Older trees generally need one inch of water a week, but younger trees need around 4-10 gallons of water during their early growing seasons. Keep an eye on your local weather patterns and adjust your water schedule to the amount of rain you receive.
2. Feed your trees with fertilizer.
In nature, neighboring plants and wildlife inhabitants fertilize trees. But in our yards, we tend to keep things tidier.
To keep your trees healthy, apply fertilizers designed for slow-release. Slow-release keeps them fed for longer, but you should still check your soil to make sure you aren’t missing essential nutrients.
Time & Money
Invest a little of your time and money for fixes that can get you through the season.
3. Protect the roots with mulch.
Keep your tree’s roots insulated and help them retain water by applying mulch. Remove the grass from around the trunk of the tree before applying mulch and then water the area. Be careful around the roots and bark of your tree with any tools, as damage to these areas can turn into more significant issues.
4. Prune off dead branches and unwanted growth.
Remove branches as they die to prepare yourself for seasonal threats (more on this in the next section). While your tree is dormant, do your major trimming. In the summer, focus on keeping things cleaned up by trimming off unwanted or dying growth.
5. Protect young trees.
For your newly planted trees, protect them from wind, animals, and other harmful concerns. For the first 5-7 years, wrap these new trees with tree shelters or deer tubes to create a greenhouse-like environment that will help them grow.
Keep it Professional
Keep your trees in top shape by consulting and working with those who know tree care best.
6. Location, location, location!
Location is critical for two reasons: plant trees that will thrive in your climate and region, and make sure you place them in the right spot in your yard. Depending on the type of tree you have, make sure it gets enough sunlight and that it has enough room to grow. It’s also essential to make sure you don’t plant too close to power lines, utility lines, or your home, and DON’T PLANT TOO DEEP!
7. Check-in with the professionals.
Check-in with a professional arborist so you don’t miss any significant issues your tree may face. They will help call out problems like discolored leaves, cankers, infestations, and more. They can then help you develop a game plan to get your tree back on track.
Protect Your Trees During a Natural Disaster
Depending on where you live in the country, natural disasters are unavoidable. Each region comes with different dangers for your trees.
- Blizzards: Prepare your yard for winter by pruning, wrapping, and covering them as needed. If you aren’t sure which of your trees need winterizing, contact an arborist.
- Hurricane: If you have a hurricane headed your way, protect your trees by trimming any dead or dying branches. During high winds, you will want to avoid broken limbs, which can become dangerous during high winds.
- Wildfire: Wildfire can show up suddenly and move quickly. Keep your trees spaced apart, remove any dead growth, and keep branches trimmed away from your home. If you have to evacuate, try to saturate your grass, mulch, and root systems with water. Wet plants are less likely to catch fire.
- Flood: If you live in an area that is susceptible to flooding, planting trees can reduce your risk for flood damage. Root systems can help hold your soil together, absorb the water, and it slows down the flow of water.
- Tornado: If you live in a region that experiences tornadoes, approach your tree care like those with the threat of a hurricane. During the season, keep trees trimmed to reduce your risk of damaging broken limbs.
- Pests & Critters: Protect your trees from pests and critters by investing in pre-bought wraps and sprays. You can plant marigolds and daffodils for an all-natural pest repellant.
Getting to know the dangers in your area can help you be proactive about protecting against them before they even start.
The History of Tree Care
Tree care has come a long way in the past over 100 years. Arboriculture started developing into what we know now in the early 1900s.
- The 1900s-1920s is when the art of tree care started. Arborist companies of this time developed training, research, products, and techniques for Arborists. This period was also when the first training courses, research centers, labs, and equipment.
- Professional arborists started developing pruning tools and other necessary equipment in the 1920s.
- With the major Wall Street crash in 1929, the 1930s brought a lot of economic struggles for those in the arborist community.
- The 1940s brought World War II. In 1945, when the soldiers returned home from war, the country morphed with the development of new materials and designs.
- With the war behind them, the Arborists of the 1950s had access to unused war equipment. Arborists transformed this equipment into useful tree care tools.
- The 1960s brought a lot of change as the world readjusted to another war, regular protests, and the rose of media. Arborists developed chippers, chainsaws, and lighter equipment. This new equipment helped make their work faster and more efficient.
After the 60s, technology has continued developing. Professional arborists are more effective and precise than ever.
These days, arborists use manual tools, climbing gear, protective apparel, saddles for tree climbing, electrical and gas-powered tools, and more.
How to Maintain Healthy Trees for Life
Growing your trees through to maturity is a labor of love. Each phase of their growth brings different struggles.
- Figure out what kind of soil and lighting your trees need to survive. Every tree is different, so consult professionals if you aren’t sure what they need.
- Keep the soil around your trees healthy by watering correctly, fertilizing, and applying mulch. Planting ground covering and grassy plants creates natural plant decay. Properly nourish and protect your trees throughout the year to extend their life.
- Tree bark is your tree’s armor. High powered sprinklers, rubbing branches, lawn tools, cars, and more can all damage your tree bark. Damaged bark makes your tree susceptible to more significant issues.
- Does your tree have any sensitivities? Things like wind, sea salt spray, sun exposure, and stagnant water can be major stressors for your trees.
- Water your tree properly by adjusting to the seasons and making sure that your watering levels change as they grow.
- Keep root systems safe by making sure they have healthy soil. Root systems thrive with good airflow, proper nutrients, and careful use of lawnmowers and weed whackers.
- Pruning is an essential part of proper tree care. Trim any branches that cross, are dead or damaged, or are hanging too low for your lifestyle.
Proper care at each stage is important to the potential your tree will have to grow in future stages.
The Secrets of Tree Care
Are you ready to know the secret to proper tree care?
Get to know your trees, keep an eye on them, adjust care as needed, protect them the best you can, and when in doubt, bring in the professionals!
It all comes down to your specific situation. Not every tree will survive, but as long as you do your best throughout the years, your trees should provide you with shade and beauty for generations.
Lay the groundwork for any care your trees may need, and set yourself up with healthy trees for life!