The Importance of Tree Care
Trees are vital to the landscape, reducing soil erosion, beautifying yards, and creating healthy environments. However, they require care to keep them healthy. For example, pruning helps trees stay aesthetically pleasing, increases light penetration, and reduces stress on selected limbs from wind, ice, or snow. Proper Tino’s Tree Service like watering, mulching, and fertilization help to minimize damage from pests and diseases.
Water is one of the most important components of tree health. It is used by the tree to produce food and to grow, and is absorbed by the roots through the soil. It is important to know how much water a specific species of tree needs, how to water them, and when. Most plants require watering regularly, but it is even more important for trees since they have a harder time absorbing the moisture they need.
Newly planted trees should be watered every couple of weeks, or more frequently in dry weather, for at least two years. Once they are established they should be watered once a month during droughts. Mature, native trees may need less summer watering depending on the species and your soil conditions.
The best way to water a tree is to soak the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches, which is known as deep root watering. This allows the tree to absorb and utilize the moisture more efficiently than shallow soakings, which can result in the water being quickly lost through evaporation.
When watering a tree, it is important to avoid watering the trunk or leaves as this can cause rot. Instead, water the soil around the roots, and be sure to use a mulch or other covering that will prevent water runoff from the surface of the ground and competing weeds.
Using a soaker hose, sprinkler hose attachment on low setting, or other systems to water is helpful, but should be monitored to prevent overwatering. Watering in the morning or evening will reduce evaporation and help conserve the moisture. Be sure to check the soil regularly for moisture, and only water if it has not rained in a week or so.
Pruning is a vital process for tree care that can help or hurt trees, depending on how it is done. Proper pruning enhances the health, stability, appearance, and growth of a tree while reducing risks such as damage to people or property. It is best to prune trees regularly and systematically.
Dead and weakened branches can be a safety risk to pedestrians, as well as damage the siding of homes, roofs, and utility lines. They also absorb nutrients that could be used by healthy limbs and can create entry points for insects and diseases. Weak and overgrown limbs can become a nuisance and cause problems for people, cars, or pets. Pruning removes these problems and improves traffic flow on sidewalks and roads, visibility, and airflow.
A major goal of pruning is to promote fruit production on fruit trees and flowering shrubs by thinning out the canopy, removing suckers from the trunks of larger limbs, and reducing overall branch density. This allows sunlight to reach the interior of the canopy and stimulates flower buds.
The removal of broken branches and limbs that have been damaged by storms, car impacts, or old age is essential for improving the overall health of a tree. This reduces the risk of falling limbs, and encourages more abundant and better quality fruit.
We recommend that a majority of the work be done in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. This minimizes the amount of sap the tree will expel from pruning wounds. Some shade and flowering trees, such as maples, birch, dogwood, willow, magnolia, lilac, rhododendron, and mountain laurel, tend to “bleed” or expel large amounts of sap from pruning wounds when cut in the spring, but this is not harmful and will heal quickly.
Soil testing is an important part of a plant health care program and should be done regularly. Soil test results provide information on the relative acidity (pH), soil organic matter, nutrient levels and the availability of those nutrients to plants. When done correctly, soil tests can aid in the selection of suitable plants, improve crop yields and reduce pollution from excessive fertilizer runoff into surface or groundwater supplies.
Unhealthy soil is a major cause of 80% of all tree wellness issues. If the soil is too acidic, trees are unable to take in the essential nutrients they need for healthy growth. When a tree cannot properly absorb these essential nutrients it is more susceptible to pests and diseases.
Proper soil pH and nutrient levels can be corrected using simple, cost-effective methods. A soil sample should be collected in a bucket or plastic bag and labeled with the name of the property, block, or orchard and the cultivar. The lab will then dry and analyze the soil to determine its pH, humic content, nutrient content and exchange capacity. It will also calculate the amount of lime and fertilizer needed to improve the soil.
In addition to pH, the soil test will identify any deficiencies in micro-nutrients such as iron, manganese, zinc, boron and copper. These minerals are needed in very small amounts, but if they are not present they will inhibit plant health and growth. The test will also reveal any contaminant levels in the soil, such as heavy metals and excessive soluble salts. Soil samples should be taken in the spring or fall to ensure accurate results. The lab will send a report with recommendations for soil amendments and fertilization.
Pests & Diseases
Pests and diseases can have a severe impact on your trees’ health, causing them to grow poorly or even die. Diseases can be caused by natural events, invasive species, or simply improper tree care. In addition to being aesthetically unpleasant, these issues can also cost you money in the form of expensive pesticide treatments. The best way to keep your trees healthy is to understand when and how these problems occur.
Symptoms that may indicate a problem include tattered foliage, discolored leaves, bare or dying limbs, deformed branches or trunks, or a sticky residue on patio furniture or cars. In most cases, the condition can be corrected if it is caught early, so it is important to monitor your trees regularly.
Some diseases are natural to the environment and will pass without causing significant harm, while others can be passed from one plant to another by insects or through a variety of other means. A good example is loblolly pine root rot, caused by fungi in the Leptographium group and exacerbated by drought stress that weakens plants’ ability to fight off pathogens.
Other diseases, such as anthracnose or elm disease are caused by fungi and can be very lethal to susceptible species. Currently, Dutch Elm Disease has decimated elm populations in North America, while ash dieback disease, oak wilt, and horse chestnut leaf blister canker are rapidly spreading.
It is also important to monitor for invasive species and climate change. Invasive weeds, like phragmites and the Asian longhorned beetle, can kill or damage your trees. Similarly, a changing climate will reduce the range of suitable growing conditions for trees. This will also limit their resistance to disease, insect infestation and drought.
Choosing the right arborist is essential to the success of your property’s trees. Trees are an investment, and a well-cared for tree can add substantial value to a home or business. An uncared for tree can become a liability and be costly to property owners.
ISA-Certified Arborists have completed a rigorous study and examination process that culminates in passing a comprehensive exam developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. These professionals are held to a code of ethics and must continue their education. This means that they are likely to have the most up-to-date information available on all aspects of tree care.
A professional who has the ISA Certified Arborist certification can be trusted to provide expert advice and services on all types of trees. The credential also demonstrates that the arborist has invested time and energy into studying for and successfully passing an exam, which can be difficult to achieve.
To qualify for the ISA Certified Arborist, you will need to gather documentation of your work experience. This can include letters of recommendation, payroll stubs, CPR or first aid certificates, and work invoices. Volunteer experience involving trees may also count as long as it was supervised by someone with the necessary expertise.
Once you’ve become an ISA-Certified Arborist, it is important to stay up to date on all the latest information about tree care and techniques. The ISA offers a variety of training courses and webinars throughout the year for those who want to expand their knowledge base. To learn more, visit the ISA website. Getting involved in your local ISA chapter is another great way to stay current on the latest in tree care.