Caring For Trees
Posted: May 31, 2012
The trees in our yards, neighborhoods, and along our streets are a valuable asset, and require our help to keep them healthy. Proper tree care is important because trees are an investment in the value of your home and the livability of your neighborhood. There is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to care for trees. Here are some tips you need to know to keep your trees healthy and working for you.
• Start by planting the right tree in the right place. Where space is limited, such as under power lines, select tree species that have a mature height of 20-30 feet.
• Mulch around your trees to reduce compaction; protect soils from drying out, and to keep lawn mowers and string trimmers from wounding the bark and girdling the tree. Use a ring of wood chip 2-4 inches deep, and don’t pile it up on the trunk - that can hurt the tree causing decay and rot to enter the trunk.
• Water your trees. Especially during droughts and when they are newly planted. A young tree will need about 10 gallons of water per week, rain or shine, during summer months.
• Leave the roots alone. Avoid cutting roots or changing the grade and burying roots, which will slowly kill a tree.
• Always prune your trees properly or hire a qualified arborist to prune your trees according to ANSI-A300 National Tree Pruning Standards. Never Top a Tree! Many people think that topping will help their tree or make them small and safer, but in reality it is one of the worst things you can do to your tree! Topping does not make your tree safe. Topping actually creates a more dangerous tree because it allows decay to enter the branches, slowly weakening the tree internally, shortening its life, and in many cases causing future storm damage.
• Hire an ISA Certified Arborist to care for your tree. They’ve received extensive training and passed a comprehensive exam on tree care practices.
Becoming an educated consumer can save you money and save your tree from many misinformed tree workers and landscapers. Contact your local Penn State Cooperative Extension office, DCNR Bureau of Forestry office, or visit www.patree.org to obtain free tree care information. Attend tree care workshops and learn about tree care.