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04 Apr 2017
Problems with DIY Tree Care

3 of the Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying DIY Tree Care

Are Your Tree Care and Maintenance Practices Doing More Harm Than Good?

 

The time has come once again for homeowners to do some maintenance work on their lawns, gardens, and most importantly, their trees.

The previous winter season has undoubtedly delivered quite a beating to your trees and shrubberies, especially if you live in an area prone to heavy snow and strong cold winds. Most homeowners are in DIY tree care mode by now, eagerly inspecting the damage sustained by the trees and trying to figure out the best solution to rehabilitate them and restore their lushness and beauty.

 

But how much do you really know about tree care and maintenance?

 

If you’re on this page, reading this post, then it’s safe to assume that your knowledge about the subject is fairly limited and you want to learn more about it, right?

Practicing do-it-yourself tree care and maintenance is never a bad idea. In fact, it is highly recommended by many experts. It’s good to spend some time taking care of your trees. Unfortunately, a lot of people are employing the wrong tree care practices.

Instead of providing the tree with the proper care it deserves so that it can recover from its injuries and restore its health, they’re actually doing more harm to it by using the wrong tree care techniques and methods. And this doesn’t just apply to homeowners; a number of tree professionals also make a few mistakes when it comes to tree care and maintenance.

That’s right.

It’s not just homeowners and amateur tree care enthusiasts that often make mistakes when caring for their trees; even tree pros sometimes commit the same mistakes as well. So what are these tree care mistakes that you should avoid? Keep on reading.

 

Common DIY Tree Care Mistakes to Avoid

1. Pruning and trimming at the wrong time of year.

You may not be aware of this, but there’s actually an appropriate time to prune your trees. Some people think that it’s okay to trim or prune a tree any time, since they can pretty much grow back the cut branches.

Wrong, in most cases. You can always remove dead, broken and diseased limbs. In fact it will keep your tree more healthy.  Trees can use excess energy in repair rather than new growth, removing these issues will send that energy to more useful areas.

For most of the year, trees constantly grow and develop except during the winter months. During winter, trees go through a dormant stage where they lose the majority of their foliage. It is during this time that pruning is often performed, especially on mature trees.

When a tree is dormant, it is not actively growing. And since most of its leaves are gone, it’s easier to see all the branches and figure out which ones to cut. When done the right way, pruning can be healthy for trees. It also helps ensure strong growth of new branches and foliage as soon as spring arrives.

 

2. Using a pruning technique known as “topping”.

Topping is a form of pruning that removes the entire top of a tree, hence the term. It is highly discouraged by Certified Arborists and reputable tree professionals, and even outlawed in some states.

Topping may result in the subsequent death of a tree. Since it not only disfigures the plant, it also leaves it susceptible to infestation and decay. This poor pruning method may cause irreversible damage and premature death to your tree, so please don’t do it.

And if you see a neighbor or a friend topping his/her tree, politely stop them and explain why it’s not a good idea to denude a tree completely of its foliage.

 

3. Stub cuts and flush cuts (improper pruning method).

Tree branches have collars, in case you’re not aware of it. This collar is located on the base of a branch where it meets the trunk or the lead branch of a tree. Now, when it comes to pruning, there is a correct method and a wrong one.

When you’re pruning, you need to cut all the way to the branch collar. Not doing so is what is known as a stub cut. Stub cuts won’t heal properly and will leave the wound susceptible to decay and infestation.

The opposite of a stub cut is known as a flush cut. This is when you cut a branch or a limb too far beyond the collar. This method is even worse than a stub cut, because it leaves the tree essentially unable to heal and protect its wound.

 

More info:

 

Stocksnap.io photo by Anders Jildén

04 Mar 2017
Top 4 Myths and Misconceptions about Tree Care

Top 4 Myths and Misconceptions about Tree Care

Are You Certain That What You Know about Tree Care Is Legit?

 

Have you ever found yourself wondering if the trees in your property are healthy and safe for the kids to play under? It’s not uncommon to find different varieties of trees in many residential properties. Trees can add beauty to the landscape. They enhance the ambiance, provide shade from the afternoon sun, and most importantly, add value to your property.

But how much do you really know about maintaining and taking care of trees?

You may find this surprising, but a lot of homeowners who have trees in their property don’t actually know the first thing about tree care and maintenance. Some of them will say they know enough, but do they really? How do you know what is true and what’s merely a myth?

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about tree maintenance you should know about. Hopefully, you can use this information to avoid doing more harm than good to your trees.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

 

Tree Care Myths and Misconceptions

1. Flush cutting is ideal when severing a branch in order to optimize the healing process.

Here’s the first thing you need to know about trees: they’re not like people. When trees sustain wounds, they don’t heal in the conventional sense. Trees don’t regenerate tissues to heal their wounds like humans do. Instead, trees go through a process of compartmentalization. They generate what is known as woundwood over and around the area of the wound.

Flush cutting is a pruning process that gets rid of the branch collar, resulting in a much larger wound in comparison to simply cutting off the branch outside the collar.

Fact: Flush cutting is not recommended as a pruning technique. It can increase the chance of pathogens worming their way into the tree, rather than optimize its healing.

2. Staking newly planted trees ensures the development of a strong trunk and root system.

In some cases, it is necessary to stake a newly planted tree so that it stays upright and its root system firmly establishes underground. However, you need to realize that this has several adverse effects.

If staking is necessary, the tree should be given enough room for roots and trunk development. Furthermore, the staking materials, such as the wires and ties, should be removed after about a year to avoid girdling.

Fact: A number of studies have shown that newly planted trees that weren’t staked tend to develop a more stable and extensive root system as well as better trunk taper. Trunk damage due to staking materials is a common side effect of improper staking.

 

3. Newly planted trees should be pruned back heavily to counteract root loss.

One of the most common reasons why some experts recommend heavy pruning on newly planted trees is to minimize the amount of water that dissipates from the leaves. Although there is some truth to this, it should be noted that trees require a full crown to quickly generate the much needed nutrients they need to induce root development.

Fact: Trees develop better and establish a more extensive root system when they have a fuller crown. It is best to limit pruning to structural training purposes, as well as to the removal of dead or damaged branches.

 

4. It is best to use tree wrap on newly planted trees to prevent sunscald and insect infestation.

Admittedly, there is some debate going on in the community about the validity of using tree wraps to protect the trunk of newly planted trees. Sunscald is a common occurrence on barks of trees that are exposed to extreme temperatures. It usually appears on the south or southwest side of young trees.

However, studies on the matter have shown that most commercial tree wraps are not that effective in preventing bark damage. In certain cases, the damage on the bark is even worse when tree wraps are used.

Also, using tree wraps to keep insects out has proven to be ineffective. As a matter of fact, some insect species even like to burrow under the wrapping material.

Fact: If you want to protect your trees from extreme fluctuations in temperature, consulting with a Certified Arborist is your best course of action.

 

More info:

Stocksnap.io photo by Sergei Soloviev