A properly cared for tree is a generational investment. Trees can live for many decades, and in some cases, even for hundreds of years. It’s amazing to think that one tree can bring shade to several generations in the same family. This, of course, is only possible when the tree is properly cared for throughout its lifespan. Some maintenance needs to be done seasonally; other care will need to be provided yearly. Certain tree care is only utilized as needed, but either way, caring for your tree is an important part of keeping it healthy for many years. Here are a few tips to increase the lifespan of your tree:
Tree health starts even before you plant
If you are thinking of cultivating a tree on your property, then the first thing you should do is consider the environment. What is your climate? What type of soil do you have? Will your tree grow in direct sunlight, or will it be partially shaded? How much room will the tree have to grow? All of these questions will affect what type of tree you decide to plant. If you aren’t sure of the best answers, you can contact a tree service professional to come and inspect your property and advise you on what tree to buy. They will assess your soil; some trees require an acid soil, while others thrive best with a neutral or alkaline soil. They will determine whether the growth of the tree risks interfering with your property or with any other nearby trees. Once you have these answers, you can decide which tree will survive best on your property.
Caring for newly planted trees
Newly planted trees require more maintenance than older, stronger ones. They will need to be watered regularly and may need extra protection from the elements. If you live in a particularly windy area, then you may need to install a wind barrier to keep your young trees from being blown down. Occasionally, they may need to be staked as well, although trees that have not been staked have a tendency to grow stronger than ones that have.
All trees require a certain amount of pruning, although just how much will vary depending on the particular species of tree and its unique needs. Most trees should be pruned once a year; the late winter is often the best time to do this as the tree is dormant and will grow new branches in early spring. The winter is also the time when invasive insects and disease-causing fungal spores are dormant. If you notice any damaged or diseased branches, they should be removed as quickly as possible to prevent the damage from spreading to the rest of the tree. Regular pruning of weakened limbs will also free up valuable energy that your tree can divert to its healthiest limbs.
Removing suckers and watersprouts
Tree suckers and watersprouts are unusual branches that sprout on your tree, drawing away water and nutrients and weakening it overall. They tend to appear when the tree is under some kind of stress; this can be due to weather, poor soil conditions, or a number of other factors. When tree suckers take hold, they can threaten the rest of the tree and will never grow into full, strong branches themselves and so they should be removed. Periodically inspect your tree for unusual growth and pull it out or cut it off to allow the tree’s resources to be relocated back to the healthy branches.
Protect your tree from animals
Especially during the winter, when food is scarce, wild animals may come to see your tree as a food source. In the Oregon area, raccoons, squirrels, deer and even occasionally even bears can leave distinctive marks on trees as they scratch or chew the bark, damaging it. Male deer will even attempt to slough their large antlers off using a tree, cutting into the bark as they do so and potentially harming or even killing the tree. There are several ways to keep animals away from your tree. Leaving an alternative food source nearby but far away from the tree is one way; stores also sell repellants that can scare away unwanted animals. Sometimes, you may even need to install a barrier to keep them off.
Just as people need to visit the doctor regularly for a physical, trees should be regularly checked in order to ensure they’re healthy and to help diagnose and treat any illnesses. A person who is trained in the care of trees is called an arborist. Having an arborist regularly inspect your tree is probably the best thing you can do to extend its life. They will prune away unneeded branches, check for signs of insect invasions or disease, and also make sure that the tree isn’t at risk of damaging nearby property or posing a safety risk to any residents. Regular inspections and care from a professional tree service can greatly extend the life of your tree and save you a lot of money in the long run, as you will avoid the costly repairs to your home that come with fallen tree branches and overgrown roots.
Contact us today for more information on tree pruning and tree trimming.