Trees in Your Yard

Nothing can provide a more striking and beautifying addition to your yard than the addition of one or more trees. Besides the aesthetic value, the value of your property in dollars and cents will also rise exponentially to the low cost of buying and planting trees. In addition,
the habitat provided for birds, and the summer shade that will be provided, are substantial benefits. In addition, it has been said that "The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day." (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

In order to ensure the long and healthy lives of your trees, there are many dos and don'ts than must be remembered.

The topping off of trees is a prime example of misplaced logic in the care of trees, as a topped tree is a disfigured tree and could case it serious harm in several respects. It causes the tree's root ratio to become imbalanced, affecting the tree's nutrition. The lack of small branches and leaves at the top can cause scalding from the direct sunlight. Weak branches and suckers can develop from the area that has been pruned. The site of the topping may have a difficult time forming a protective callus, leaving the tree vulnerable to insects and disease.
Care must be taken to avoid injuring your trees with lawn mowers, edge trimmers, and other such equipment. The best practice is not let sod grow up to the base of your trees, but rather have a buffer zone of mulch around your trees.

Compacted soil near your trees can can injury to the root systems. Heavy materials, equipment, even substantial foot traffic close to
trees can compact the soil over shallow roots, harming the root system and the trees health.

Compacted soil is not easily penetrated by water and air, the two basic needs for strong, healthy roots. Soil compaction can be caused by heavy equipment used near a tree, concrete over the root zone, even foot traffic can cause soil compaction. Do not store items by the tree.

Pruning and thinning of dead, injured, and crowded limbs is a definite "do". Good tree health requires air to be able to circulate between tree limbs and branches. When pruning, remember that a well-trimmed tree does not look like it has just been trimmed. While some pruning, as necessary, can be done at any time, major trims should be done in late winter or early spring.

For poorly draining soil areas, aeration is necessary around trees, an adequate supply of oxygen and water to the roots is essential. You can help aeration by drilling holes around the root zone and fill
them with gravel.

Of course, the essential element of good tree care is watering. Climate and soil type, and well as the needs of the particular tree, determine the amount of watering that needs to be done, but as general principles, water must be allowed to soak deep into the ground, and the most beneficial time to water is in the early morning.

Fertilizing is beneficial to increase growth, reduce susceptibility to certain diseases and pests, and can help reverse declining tree health.

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