11 Common Tree Care Myths

With so much information in the world today it is hard for homeowners to figure out what is true and what is not, especially in a complicated industry such as tree care. There are a lot of unsafe practices and wives tales out there that are outdated and dangerous to trees and the people who live in their proximity. Don’t get fooled by tree care myths; read on to protect yourself by learning these 11 Common Tree Care Myths and The Facts That Prove Them Wrong.

A Topped Tree

A Tree That Has Been Topped

1. Cutting More Of The Tree Adds More Value

Fact: There is only so much you can prune back at one time without severely impacting your tree. Removing too much at one time stresses the tree and can lead to health decline, structural defects, insect infestation, and disease infection.  The practice of removing lots of large branches and whole tops of trees is commonly referred to as “Topping”. This is an outdated and harmful practice that will lead to your tree’s death.

2. Anyone That Cuts Trees Are Arborists

Fact: There are many untrained and uncertified “tree cutters” passing themselves off as an arborist. An arborist, specifically an ISA Certified Arborist, is trained in arboriculture and utilizes the ANSI standards to properly do tree work. They have passed an extensive examination covering all facets of arboriculture and understand how best to care for your trees. By not using a Certified Arborist you risk doing more harm to your tree than good. You can find a Certified Arborist on the ISA website: http://www.isa-arbor.com/findanarborist/arboristsearch.aspx 

Beneficial Insect Ladybug3. All Insects Are Bad For Trees

Fact: Certain insects protect your trees and are good for the environment these are called Beneficial Insects. Take ladybugs for example, these insects feed on aphids and other creatures that harm your trees. There are even Beneficial Insect Release programs that use good insects to fight the bad ones instead of using chemicals. Learn more about Beneficial Insect Release.

4. Dead Branches Will Come Down On Their Own

Fact: Yes, dead branches may eventually fall on their own; however, in our highly populated area it’s very likely they will cause property damage or human injury when they do fall. Dead branches “hangers” are unsafe and should be removed as soon as possible.

5. Healthy Looking Trees Won’t Fall Down

Fact: No tree is ever 100% safe. However; trees that typically fall have root structure issues. It’s very common for trees to look healthy but still have root structure issues. This is why it’s important to get your tree examined by an Arborist every so often. They will be able to spot the signs of an unhealthy root system. Learn More About Why & When Trees Fall Down.

Does Ivy Hurt Trees

6. “Let’s Plant It Here, If We Don’t Like It We Can Move It Later”

Fact: Moving a tree can damage it, especially once the roots have been established, And planting in the wrong location can harm the tree in the future. Check how big your tree’s crown will get and make sure the roots have room to grown 2-3x that width, make sure your full grown tree will not encroach on any power lines or structures, and make sure the spot your planting in has the right soil type and light exposure for the type of tree your planting.

7. Vines Are Good For My Trees

Fact: Although many people love the look of ivy growing on trees, Ivy is a threat to your tree.  In fact, these aesthetically appealing vines can actually accelerate rot, steal nutrients from the tree, deprive the tree of sunlight, and cover up structural issues that could cause your tree to fall during a storm.

8. Tree’s Need To Be Balanced

Fact: Trees do not grow symmetrically. Trees grow towards the light and they will adjust to compensate for being uneven. A leaning tree can worry homeowners, but generally, trees that lean naturally over time are not a cause for concern. However, trees that lean suddenly can be a sign of structural issues. If your tree started leaning after a storm call an Arborist ASAP as it may fall soon. 

9. It Doesn’t Matter How The Branches Are Cut, It Will Grow Back

Fact: Tree branches need to be pruned properly to prevent damage. Limbs that are cut improperly can cause permanent and irreparable damage to your tree.

10. Water Is Good And More Water Is Better

Fact: During the drought season it is very good to water your trees; however, over watering is not good and can cause root rot. Watering once a week (deep and slow) is better than daily (fast). Learn How To Properly Water Your Tree.

11. Safety Doesn’t Matter

Fact: Arboriculture is among the top 5 most dangerous occupations in the U.S and that is for people that know what they are doing and have the right equipment. It gets even more dangerous when done by untrained homeowners. In 2015, the media covered 58 stories of homeowners sustaining serious injury while performing their own tree work; 34 of these cases were fatal. It is always best to hire a tree care company.

Even if you hire a tree care company make sure they care about safety and are properly insured.  If you hire an uninsured company with poorly trained workers you can be sued if they hurt themselves on your property.

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Samantha Huff

Samantha Huff is the marketing coordinator at RTEC Treecare. She enjoys learning about the technical aspects of trees and the insects and diseases that prey on them. She hopes that these articles can help homeowners gain control of their tree and shrub maintenance by being aware of the signs and symptoms of unhealthy trees.
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