Tips For Healthy Trees

Spring is the ideal time to show your trees a little TLC.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Spring is the ideal time to show your trees a little TLC. To learn what you should be doing now, we checked in with Michael Pollard, district manager of the New Jersey office of Davey Tree, a national tree care company.

Inspect Most trees start to leaf and flower in the spring. Look up: If one section of the tree is looking sparse, something is wrong. It could be insects, disease, drought, soil compaction or root disease. “Yellowing leaves could be a sign of excess water from winter storms, indicating poor soil drainage and too much moisture,” says Pollard. He suggests also looking down: check the roots for discolored, loose or damp wood and fungi growing near the base of tree. This can be a sign of internal problems, he warns.

Prune Dead branches can be a safety risk, warns Pollard. “Use sharp, clean tools to make small cuts,” he suggests, and never prune more than 25 percent of a tree’s foliage at one time.

Mulch Mulch conserves soil moisture, controls weeds, reduces potential damage from mowers and secures the organic matter trees need beneath the soil surface. “Mulching is one of the most beneficial practices a homeowner can use for better tree health,” says Pollard. Be sure to keep the base of the tree exposed—keep mulch 2 to 3 inches away from the trunk—to let moisture escape. This prevents rot and decay.

Fertilize Apply a slow-release fertilizer to replace nutrients and create healthier soil. Pollard recommends fertilizing before peak growing season to ensure your trees and shrubs stay healthy through the hot summer season.

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