7 Simple Steps To Keep Your Trees Healthy & Thriving

7 Simple Steps To Keep Your Trees Healthy & Thriving

Reading time: 7 minutes

Trees are a significant contributor to the clean air around you, but they must be free of pests and diseases to do their job effectively. Wondering how to keep your trees healthy? You’re in the right place.

Why Is Tree Maintenance Important?

Regular trimming, watering, and fertilizing your trees helps maintain a healthy tree structure and ensures the longevity of your trees. Since trees never die of old age, preventing problems like pests, overgrowth, and disease is crucial.

When a tree is well-maintained as it grows, it will form strong branches and become sturdier over time.

Keep reading for helpful tips on how you can properly maintain your trees with the help of an experienced professional arborist and Green Drop tree care services.

Beautiful tree with large green top

Follow These 7 Steps For Healthy Trees

1. Choosing The Right Kind Of Trees

Different tree species are suited to different conditions, and it’s important to know what you’re looking for. When choosing your trees, select varieties compatible with your soil and climate. If the conditions aren’t optimal where you’ve placed a tree, it will need a lot of work to maintain and may continue to struggle despite having the proper care.

It’s best to check with a professional before getting too involved so you know what varieties you can choose from and which you shouldn’t bother considering.

2. Watering Your Trees

Watering your trees frequently plays an important role in helping them develop the lush, green foliage you love. While young trees need to be watered often since their trunk and branches are thin and can’t hold much water, older trees can go longer between waterings as they get larger.

Trees should be watered deeply once every few weeks during the first two years to encourage root growth. Mature trees can be watered several times a month or more frequently when it’s very hot and dry. But you don’t want to water them less than this, especially if you live in climates with little precipitation.

3. Pruning Your Trees

Pruning removes dead, diseased, or overgrown branches from your trees so they continue to grow healthy and strong. Trimming is especially important in municipal areas, where broken or low-hanging branches can get in the way of pedestrians and traffic.

Like with watering, newly-planted trees need more pruning than mature trees do. Healthy trees should be pruned about every two to three years when they are young and less frequently as they age. Mature trees can be trimmed every three to five years. Avoid pruning more than this unless you find a problem with your trees.

If you’re unsure whether to prune, the best rule of thumb is to leave it alone. Trees can fend for themselves and don’t need a lot of pruning if the branches are in good condition. A professional can help determine if it’s time to trim by coming to your location and assessing your foliage.

4. Fertilizing Your Trees

Like all plants, trees need adequate nourishment to grow. Potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus are the primary macronutrients that trees need to flourish. They also need secondary macronutrients like magnesium, calcium, and sulphur. But it’s important to get the dosage right – trees with too little iron will turn yellow, while over-fertilized trees will experience rapid growth spurts without developing a sufficient root system to support them.

Your trees should be fertilized at the beginning of spring before the weather gets too warm and when there’s more rain to wash the nutrients through the root system.

Avoid fertilizing your trees in the summer when they are more stressed by heat and drought.

Green Drop’s RootBoost service can help keep your tree roots healthy, happy, and thriving. We use a specialized deep-root fertilizer that applies nutrients directly to the roots instead of externally on the soil, where it requires moisture and time to soak into the system. This promotes new growth and disease resistance and is great for young trees and new installations.

5. Preventing Pests & Diseases

Insects are a part of nature, so it’s unavoidable that they’ll be in and around your trees. But the kind of insect – and how many of them there are – makes a big difference in whether or not it could harm your tree. The disease can also be an issue, spreading between trees and affecting large areas simultaneously.

Some common problems include:

  • Leaf rust –These are reddish-orange “rusty” looking spots created by a fungus that interferes with photosynthesis. While unsightly, they rarely cause actual damage to the tree.
  • Fire blight –If some of your tree branches look like they’ve been suddenly burned or completely dried out, it could be fire blight. This condition is caused by bacteria that can be spread by insects, precipitation, and even your pruning shears.
  • Japanese beetles – Also called Asian beetles, these little critters look like ladybugs but definitely aren’t. You can tell if they are Japanese beetles, if they release an unpleasant odour when they find food or are crushed and if your tree leaves look like skeletons, with only the veins remaining intact.
  • Bagworms – Bagworms are extremely common on evergreen shrubs in municipal areas and can look unsightly if not treated. They can eat large portions of your shrubs when they pupate and destroy the natural beauty of the greenery.
  • Canker –A canker is a type of lesion on the bark of a tree that ranges in size. Cankers can be caused by almost anything, from fungi and bacteria to physical damage caused by an external source. On young trees, a canker can be deadly.
  • Emerald ash borers –These shiny green beetles are anything but pretty when digging into the bark of your ash trees. Not only do borers destroy your tree bark themselves, woodpeckers and other destructive animals are attracted by the mess and invited to do further damage. These beetles are invasive, more recent additions in Canada.
  • Weevils – Like emerald ash borers, weevils are boring insects that hollow out the inside of your trees to feed and make tunnels. They mostly infest woody shrubs and trees like strawberries, grapes, and azaleas.

Some insects and diseases can be easily identified and treated, while others are difficult to detect and even harder to eliminate. Since these problems can ruin your tree investment, it’s important to consult with a professional for the proper diagnosis and treatment of pests or diseases.

6. Mulching Around Your Trees

Mulching around trees does more than just give them a beautiful, manicured look. It also helps conserve moisture in the soil around the tree, which is critical in times of high heat and little rain. Mulch filters impurities out of rainwater and slows down the rate of evaporation, helping to aerate and fertilize the soil it covers. It also protects tree roots from snow and ice during the winter.

Contrary to popular belief, mulch doesn’t need to be tall. It can even be just a couple of inches high and shouldn’t exceed four. It’s more important that you spread your mulch out over a bigger area to cover more of the roots of your trees. You do want to keep the mulch away from right next to the tree trunk – you should be able to see the roots begin before the mulch does.

7. Protecting The Roots & Trunks Of Your Trees

Depending on the type of trees you have and their location, you may want to further protect the roots and trunks of your trees with more than just mulch. If your area has a lot of deer, for example, it may be a good idea to put up a 4’ fence or trunk protector to keep them from chewing off the bark. Young trees should be fenced to protect them while their root systems become established.

Fencing also helps protect tree trunks and roots from lawnmowers, weed eaters, bicycles, vehicles, and other potentially damaging objects. Fencing can prevent excessive foot traffic over delicate root systems in municipal areas.

Ensure you protect the roots and trunks of your trees from the start, especially if they’re very young. You can easily destroy tree roots with a lawnmower or by placing a heavy object like a small above-ground pool on top of the roots.

Let Green Drop Help Keep Your Trees Healthy & Strong

At Green Drop, our arborists know how important your trees are to your home, business, or city. Our tree care services can help protect your trees from insects, diseases, pedestrians, and animals so your trees stay healthy year-round.

Get a free estimate for tree maintenance today by calling 1-877-877-0706, or fill out our short online contact form, and we’ll get with you to provide your free quote.

Schedule Your Free Tree Care Assessment