Now that you have been introduced to the idea of “proactive tree care” last month, we want to expand on the foundation we built with the soil. In order to have healthy trees, we must first have healthy soils. If you do only thing you do to ensure your trees are healthy, give your trees mulch to replace the nutrients lost in the urban environment.
Beyond the single best thing for your trees — soil care, what comes next? There are multiple directions that you can go. Some arborists may suggest pruning as the next step, and we will get to that, but we think that it’s first important to identify and treat environmental stressors that may impact our trees.
In the forest, trees exist and flourish without any human intervention or controls. Dead limbs fall off eventually, views are not obstructed so limbs are not selectively removed and poor branch structure is not a concern for nature. However, in the urban environment our structures, playscapes and lawns impact our trees and our trees impact them.
In order to look at what is in the best interest of the tree, we must take into account how our activities disrupt the natural circumstances that a tree might endure. Many of the common problems that our trees experience are directly related to how we impact their urban environment.
An example of how our activities can influence the health of a tree is through pests like pine or ambrosia beetles. Bark beetles like these are attracted to stressed trees. Trees can be stressed for many reasons, but it cannot be denied that compacted soil, overwatering or damage to the bark from things like lawn mowers can all cause enough stress to attract the beetles.
While in a perfect world we would be able to avoid negatively impacting the health of our trees, it is not always feasible and we all have to co-exist. Accidents happen, and without years of experience and training, it is hard to know what is the right thing to do for your trees. Hence the importance of having your arborist regularly inspect your trees.
An arborist may catch a tree that is stressed before the beetles have a chance to take up residence, or prescribe a treatment if caught early enough. If your arborist is familiar with your property and the health of your trees, they can easily spot something that could later develop into a larger issue.
Proper diagnosis and treatment of common tree problems can extend the life of your trees. Healthy trees give you peace of mind, and prevent larger problems from occurring. We recommend having an arborist visit your property once a year to walk through and identify any changes in your trees to ensure a problem is not missed before it gets too big to solve.