Mulching your trees and shrubs can help maintain moisture and improve soil conditions, which will help you grow healthy plants. It is one of the most beneficial acts you can do for the health of a tree, but too much of a good thing can be harmful.
Landscapes are falling victim to over-mulching, which describes piling mulch around the base of trees. This is commonly referred to as mulch volcanoes and can present many problems. When mulching your trees, keep the 3-3-3 method in mind: place the mulch in a 3-foot ring around the tree, 3 inches deep, and keep the mulch 3 inches away from the tree’s trunk.
View the video below to learn more about proper mulching.
All trees pose some degree of risk. A tree’s structure can fail due to many natural influences: lightning, heavy snow, ice, flooding, and high winds. Insects and fungi can also lead to a tree’s demise. But, with proper inspection and care, the risk that large trees could fail can often be managed and will help ease your fears.
DON’TS OF TREE CARE
Many new homeowners choose to remove some or all of their trees. This action certainly eliminates all the risks that a tree could pose.
However, it could be unnecessary and, with the removal of the trees, homeowners lose the many benefits and value that trees, especially large trees, have to offer.
Another option is to have the trees “topped.” Topping trees is an unacceptable practice within the science of arboriculture. What is “topping”? “Topping” is a method of reducing the height of a tree. Large pruning cuts are made at an arbitrary height. For example, if you have an 85-foot Red Oak near your house that you want to be reduced to 50 feet, you are effectively cutting the tree nearly in half, leaving large stub cuts of 8-12” in diameter.
The detrimental effects on the tree are as follows:
- Over 40% of the tree’s canopy is gone. This removes the tree’s ability to make food or energy for itself.
- The large pruning cuts create wounds that require a great deal of time to close naturally. This leaves each cut open to weather, insects, and disease often causing the pruned limbs to rot and die. On the limbs that survive, lots of bushy growth will develop. Those numerous new shoots are weakly attached and will easily fail in the future.
- The tree’s now open canopy exposes the internal limbs too long periods of direct sunlight which can cause sun-scald. This results in more wounds requiring healing.
- Along with its natural beauty, the tree’s natural branch structure is forever ruined leaving it more vulnerable to storm damage.
DO’S OF TREE CARE
If you do have some fears associated with owning large trees, have a Certified Arborist inspect your trees. A qualified arborist can determine what risks may exist and will develop a plan to mitigate those risks and keep your trees healthy. Healthy large trees are a major asset to your property. They took a long time to grow large. Enjoy the benefits and rewards of properly caring for them.