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Caring For Your Mature Trees

Trees can live for years, even hundreds of years. The oak or walnut can live as long as 200 to 300 years. This means these trees could be witness to up three or four generations of people. A tree of this age has great value and in that also requires great care.

With a little preventative care, your trees can last as long as this. And remember that curing a problem once it develops is much more difficult, time-consuming and costly than preventing one. So isn’t it worthwhile to give your trees regular maintenance to ensure that they are able to offer eHampton Roadsoyment and value for generations to come? If so, lets look at what kind of care a tree needs so that it can grow old graciously.

1. Tree Inspection – To start with your tree’s personal care, you should first have an inspection by a certified professional arborist. Tree inspection is an evaluation tool that will help determine whether the tree is in good or bad health or on the brink of anything disastrous. By providing regular inspections of your trees at least once a year, you can prevent or reduce the severity of future disease, insect, and environmental problems. A professional will evaluate your mature tree for four characteristics of tree vigor: new leaves or buds, leaf size, twig growth, and absence of crown dieback (gradual death of the upper part of the tree).

Any abnormalities found during these inspections, including insect activity and spotted, deformed, discolored, or dead leaves and twigs, will be noted and watched closely. The Arborist or other tree care professional will be able to determine the best solution for the tree’s condition.

2. Mulching  – Mulching cools and contains moisture around the tree, which in turn can reduce environmental stress. Mulch can also prevent mechanical damage by keeping machines such as lawn mowers and string trimmers away from the tree’s base.

Mulch should be placed 2 to 4 inches deep around the tree and cover the entire root system, which may be as far as 2 or 3 times the diameter of the branch spread of the tree. If the area and activities happening around the tree do not permit the entire area to be mulched, it is recommended that you mulch as much of the area under the drip line of the tree as possible. When placing mulch, try not to cover the actual trunk of the tree.

3. Fertilization – Trees require certain nutrients (essential elements) to function and grow.
Fertilizing a tree can improve growth; however, if fertilizer is not applied wisely, it may not benefit the tree at all and may even adversely affect the tree. Mature trees making satisfactory growth may not require fertilization. When considering supplemental fertilizer, it is important to know which nutrients are needed and when and how they should be applied.

Soil conditions, especially pH and organic matter content, vary greatly, making the proper selection and use of fertilizer a somewhat complex process. When dealing with a mature tree that provides considerable benefit and value to your landscape, it is worth the time and investment to have the soil tested for nutrient content. Any arborist can arrange to have your soil tested at a soil testing laboratory and can give advice on application rates, timing, and the best blend of fertilizer for each of your trees and other landscape plants.

4. Pruning  – Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure next to watering. Pruning is often desirable or necessary to remove dead, diseased, or insect-infested branches and to improve tree structure, enhance vigor, or maintain safety. Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of (or cause damage to) a tree, no branch should be removed without a reason.

Removing foliage from a tree has two distinct effects on its growth. Removing leaves reduces photosynthesis and may reduce overall growth. That is why pruning should always be performed sparingly. Over pruning is extremely harmful because without enough leaves, a tree cannot gather and process enough sunlight to survive. However, after pruning, the growth that does occur takes place on fewer shoots, so they tend to grow longer than they would without pruning. Understanding how the tree responds to pruning should assist you when selecting branches for removal.

Maintaining your trees into old age just requires a little patience and care, just like anything. In the end, you will have a beautiful and healthy addition to your landscape and life.

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