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    Tips 4 Trees

    Healthy trees are an asset. They provide cooling shade, habitat for birds, and can increase the value of your property. This information is provided to help you care for the trees around your residence.

    There are some very good things you can do to promote heathly, long-lived trees. And there are a number of things you will want to avoid. If in doubt, call a member of the National ARBORIST Association for advice specific to your region and variety of tree or shrub.

    Topping...Don't Do It!

    Topping or stubbing are examples of removing large branches from mature trees. A topped tree is a disfigured tree and although it was intended to help the tree, the opposite is the result.

    When a large amount of a tree's canopy (umbrella) is removed, the crown to root ratio is imbalanced and this adversely affects the tree's nutrition. It also exposes the tree to the sun which can result in scalding. Topped trees develop multiple branches or suckers, at or near the pruning cut. These branches generally are weakly attached and are prone to failure.

    A topped tree is also vunerable to disease as the stubs have a difficult time forming protective callus and this invites invasion of fungi and insects. The location of the topping cuts may also prevent the tree's natural defense system from doing its job.

    Finally, topping trees represents an unwarranted expense. A topped tree will often grow back to its original height quickly, and it will be more dense than one that has been pruned correctly. Other costs may be hidden, such as loss of property value that a well-maintained tree will encourage. There is also increased hazard from branches that have weakened as a result of the topping.

    Inflicted Wounds

    Wounds made by climbing spikes invite infection. There will be holes in the tree bark. These injuries often do not repair efficiently or effectively.

    Mechanical Injuries

    Lawn mowers and string trimmers hitting the bark of a tree can severely damage the inner bark and cambium near the soil line. This damage invites insects and fungi infestation. The best advice is to remove sod from around the base of the tree and replace with mulch.

    Soil Compaction

    Compacted soil is not easily penetrated by water and air, the two basic needs for strong, healthy roots. Soil compaction can be caused by heavy equipment used near a tree, concrete over the root zone, even foot traffic can cause soil compaction. Do not store items by the tree.

    Take Care with New Plantings

    Do not plant a new tree with a wire basket, rope, or anything that may constrict or "girdle" the roots. Girdled roots seriously affect the health and the stability of a tree. Plan where you want to plant a new tree based on its type and mature size. Be cautious when planting trees near a home foundation, patio, driveway, under power lines, or under a home's eaves.

    Excessive Soil

    Too much fill over a newly planted tree's roots can cause damage, and may even kill some species. Take care not to plant tree too deep.

    Excavation/Construction Damage

    Building foundations, driveway, sidewalk & road excavation are common events that can cause serious damage to a tree's root system. Construction damage may not be immediately noticeable, but over a period of years the health of the tree will decline as a result of root damage.

    A prized tree may be inadvertently, but fatally injured when care is not taken during excavation or construction. If you are building near an existing tree, consider calling an arborist to advise on the project during the planning phase, before any work has begun.


    Good 4 Trees

    Pruning/Thinning

    Pruning is needed to remove dead, diseased, injured, broken, rubbing and crowded limbs. Trees are thinned to allow for the wind and air to flow through. Proper thinning reduces wind resistence often responsible for uprooting or creating deformities.

    A well-thinned tree reflects a skilled arborist with good judgement and it is worthwhile investment in a valued tree. Healthy, well-formed trees increase the value of property. And the opposite is also true.

    A well-pruned tree will hardly look like it has been pruned. The tree will retain the characteristics of its species. Some tree species are small, some are large. A skilled arborist will not make a large tree small as that is contrary to industry standards.

    When to Prune

    Tree pruning to remove hazardous limbs, dead and diseased branches, can be accomplished at any time. Light pruning can usually be done at any time. Large cuts are best made in late winter or early spring. Correct pruning is more important than timing.

    Drainage/Aeration/Vertical Mulching

    If the soil drains easily, it is usually well aerated. Soil that does not drain, needs aeration. An adequate supply of oxygen and water to the roots is essential. Vertical mulching can improve the soil and encourage root growth and water uptake. For this, holes are drilled around the root zone and filled with small gravel or other material for the purpose.

    Watering

    The frequency of watering depends of the type of soil and the amount of rainfall. Water must be allowed to soak deep into the ground. The most beneficial time to water trees is in the early morning. Water slowly or use drip irrigation until the water has moistened down to the roots. Do not allow water to puddle or accumulate and runoff. This is wasteful and can be detrimental to root growth and function.

    Tree Nutrition & Fertilizing

    Trees require certain essential elements to function and grow. Fertilizing a tree can increase growth, reduce susceptibility to certain diseases and pests, and can help reverse declining health.

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