Tree Maintenance: Tree Care For A Healthier Tree

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Tree care and maintenance can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be when you have the right resources. Some tree care you can do yourself, while other services need a professional eye, but it’s important to know what you’re doing. When a tree is improperly cared for, it can result in costly repairs, injuries, property damage, and even the tree’s death.

Tree maintenance consists of a combination of trimming, overall health care, and preventative treatments for diseases and insects to keep your landscape healthy.

We’ve compiled the most common tree maintenance & care needs for your leafy friends to help you have the best yard on the block. Read on to learn the main categories of tree maintenance.

Tree Maintenance & Care to Keep Your Tree Healthy

A healthy tree produces strong bark, lots of leaves that all have a consistent shape and color, and grows steadily from year to year. If this doesn’t sound like your tree, there no need to fear! There are several things you can do to get your tree looking its best.

Tree Trimming:

Also known as pruning, tree trimming is when branches are removed because they have died or to prevent the spread of disease or insects. Tree trimming is one of the most important aspects of tree maintenance and care.

Tree service professionals recommend trimming every 3-5 years. This process helps the tree focus its growth on healthy limbs and stay strong. Proper trimming also gives the tree a more uniform shape and aesthetic. 

Major tree trimming is best left to the professionals. Incorrect methods can lead to the spreading of disease and insect infestation, weakened limbs, and tree death. 

Learn more about tree trimming

Fruit Tree Trimming:

Pruning is an essential part for fruit trees as well. When a fruit tree has too many branches producing too much fruit, the quality of the fruit decreases.  

When your tree service experts prune your fruit trees, they’ll use proper tree pruning tools, such as clippers, shears, saws, or pole pruners. Cleaning pruning tools is important before using, to prevent possible spread of disease.

When pruning fruit trees, your tree service experts will first remove any suckers that are growing around the trunk. These parasitic saplings pull nutrients away from the tree. They’ll prune back branches and make sure not to cut too close to the trunk or leave too long of a stump behind. 

Each type of fruit tree is different, and requires pruning at a specific time.

Pruning Peach Trees

Peach trees require annual pruning in the early spring to keep the tree healthy and producing. Gray, non-fruiting branches should be removed to make room for the younger, red-toned branches. Try to cut back the number of main branches to 3-5 healthy ones that create a V from the trunk. 

Pruning Cherry Trees

Cherry trees are particularly susceptible to fungal and bacterial disease, and any pruning should be done in the late summer. Focus on pruning back dead limbs and crossed branches. The general shape of a healthy cherry tree should be vase-like to allow adequate air and light.

Pruning Apple Trees

The best time to prune apple trees is in the winter. Begin by removing low branches or any that are crossing each other or rubbing against each other. For the best fruit, apple trees need plenty of air and sunlight. Thin out clusters of branches and remove any older limbs that are no longer producing. Heavy pruning should be done every three years or so.  

Pruning Pear Trees

Pear trees need to be pruned in late winter before the leaves begin to bud. If it’s a young tree, remove branches that are less than 18 inches from the ground. Pear trees need plenty of space between branches to get proper air and sunlight. 

Tree Fertilizing:

Trees in the forest have an abundance of nutrients because of the delicate forest environment that has evolved over millions of years. The trees in our yards; however, are a whole other story.  Trees in urban and suburban environments face high-stress conditions like low moisture availability, compaction, physical damage, and construction. Plus as we rake away leaves, twigs, and fall bark we remove nutrients that would have naturally decomposed, feeding the roots.

When faced with these conditions trees will not reach their full landscape potential, have a shorter lifespan, and will be more susceptible to insects and diseases. To combat this you must invest in a tree maintenance program that mitigates these high-stress conditions. Other than regular trimming, fertilization one of the best tree maintenance efforts you can do.

Learn More About Tree Fertilizer

Tree Cabling:

Not every landscape will need to include cabling in their tree maintenance plans but it can be important in certain situations. Cabling is the use of cables to stabilize a tree’s physical structure in cases where the tree can no longer support its own weight. This process cannot be used to keep unhealthy, dying trees from falling apart. Instead, cabling is used to assists healthy but oddly shaped or slightly injured trees maintain their structural integrity during heavy winds or storms.

Learn More About Cabling

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Tree Maintenance

Tree Mulching:

Applying mulch is one of the best tree maintenance efforts you can do for the health of your trees. Especially for young trees, mulching is a quick and cost-effective technique that provides numerous benefits. Mulching insulates the roots providing a buffer from heat and cold, retains water, keeps out weeds, prevents compaction and more!

Using too much mulch; however, can actually hurt you tree. Follow the link below to learn how to mulch your trees correctly.

Learn More About Mulching

Soil Management:

Soil management is essential to good tree maintenance. The goal of this is to keep the soil composition balanced and enhance the quality. Soil is comprised of air, water, minerals, and organic matter. Making sure these are balanced is critical to root growth and overall health. Unfortunately, urban and suburban landscape trees often reside in soils that are compacted, not the right moisture level, and lack the nutrients needed for growth and development.

By taking an interest in the soil portion of tree maintenance you can easily keep your soil healthy which is turn creates healthy roots and a healthy canopy.

Learn More About Soil Management

Tree Root Management:

The root system  is the most important part of a plant’s structure and should be included in your tree maintenance. Unhealthy or diseased roots will cause tree failure, making it a hazard. Most problems are not visible without the process of air spading (exposing the roots).

When trees are showing signs of possible root issues our Arborist will most likely recommend a root collar excavation. In this process, we will use high-velocity air tools to blow away the dirt and expose the roots. This then allows the Arborist to diagnose the root issues and describe what tree maintenance is needed.

Learn More About Root Management

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Protecting Trees from Construction:

Protection during construction is an extremely important part of tree maintenance because the damage that occurs during construction is irreversible. Critical root zones are very easily damaged by construction.

When planning your new deck, patio, porch, or addition most people are focused on the look of the finished project but few ever think about how their living landscape will be affected. Many homeowners think because the construction is happening on the other side of the yard or far away from the tree that it is safe. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong.  Because the critical root zone extends to or past the canopy, construction on one side of the yard can kill a tree on the other side.

In order to prevent root damage, compaction, and trunk injuries, you need to invest in a protection plan (also known as tree preservation plan) before you start renovations.

Learn More About Construction Protection

Tree Removal:

When a tree can no longer be maintained or poses a safety risk it must be removed from the property. This is a necessary but unfortunate part of tree maintenance.

Learn More About Tree Removal

It’s Time to Begin Tree Care

Whether you want to get your hands dirty or leave the work for us, now is the time to start thinking about how you can give your trees the best care. 

From stump removal to trimming the tree’s crown, RTEC Treecare is ready to help you with all your tree and landscape needs. As ISA Certified Arborists, we bring you top quality, professional tree care and peace of mind all year round. 

You can get a free estimate by booking an appointment online or by calling us at 703-573-3029.

Check out our Seasonal Care Tips to find out when you should perform your tree maintenance.