Keeping your backyard trees healthy and strong isn’t rocket science, but it does take a bit of effort and know-how. Put on your green thumb and get ready to learn the basics of tree care with these easy maintenance tips!
1. Pruning and Trimming
Pruning and trimming the trees on your property is an important part of regular maintenance. Proper pruning will keep them healthy, safe, and aesthetically pleasing. To ensure optimal growth in the future, pruning should start as early as possible in a tree’s life.
It’s important to first identify any dead or dying branches and then make sure that no live branches are crossing each other. If you’re unsure of how to cut a specific limb, it may be best to consult with a professional arborist who can provide you with advice on how to safely prune them. A definition of an arborist is that they are a specially trained professional who specializes in caring for trees. They have the knowledge and skill to properly assess and diagnose any issues that may be affecting your trees- from overgrowth or disease, to pest infestations or dehydration.
The primary objectives of pruning are:
- To remove diseased or damaged branches that can cause decay or weakening of the overall tree structure;
- To thin out branches that are competing for space and light;
- To maintain desired shape; and
- Remove interfering limbs that might affect plants or infrastructure beneath the tree canopy.
When pruning, remember: shorter (one-third the length) cuts should be made near existing buds or lateral branches while larger cuts should begin at least 1/4 inch further away from buds on larger limbs (1-inch further away if larger than 4 inches). Make sure all cuts are clean and avoid using tools that will tear the bark of the tree – this can create an entry point for pathogens or pests which may damage the health of your greenery later on in life!
2. Soil Management
Soil management plays a key role in promoting healthy greenery in your backyard. Poor soil drainage and compactness, low nutrient content, and soil profile changes all can reduce the health of the tree and lead to growth and spoilage issues. To ensure that they are receiving the proper nutrients for growth and health, you should focus on proper soil management.
- Monitor pH levels
- Test for adequate nutrients
- Add organic matter to help maintain structure
- Prevent erosion
In addition to regular fertilization, you should also monitor pH levels, test for adequate nutrients, add organic matter to help maintain structure, and prevent erosion. Proper care of the soil will help promote strong root systems that can endure extreme weather conditions and maximize water absorption capabilities. Properly managing your soil is essential to maintain healthy greenery in your backyard.
Proper fertilization helps provide the nutrients needed for optimal growth and development. They can be found in various forms, including granular, liquid and spike formulations. However, it’s important to note that different greenery will require different fertilizers for optimal health.
- Granular fertilizers are formulated to release nutrients slowly over time as they dissolve with precipitation or irrigation.
- Liquid fertilizers are applied directly to foliage and soil, where they are immediately available for plant uptake.
- Spikes or tablets may be inserted into the soil near tree roots to ensure long-lasting nutrition that can be released over time with watering or rain.
Regardless of the fertilizer you choose, it’s important to read and follow product directions carefully for best results. Additionally, apply fertilizer at recommended doses according to tree age since too much fertilizer can actually hinder growth and adversely impact a tree’s health overall.
4. Watering and Irrigation
Watering and irrigation are vital to keeping them healthy and strong. Proper watering can help moderate soil temperatures, prevent nutrient leaching, and hydrate trees. Watering frequency depends mainly on the species, soil type, topography, weather conditions and local climate. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Daily infrequent watering is more effective than frequent deep watering since it encourages a larger root system and aids in populating a soil profile with beneficial bacteria & fungi.
- Water them during dry spells or extreme heat since this helps alleviate drought stress.
- Be careful not to overwater them during rainy weather; waterlogged soils can cause root damage or create an environment susceptible to root rot or other diseases.
- Mulching them is a great way of adding necessary nutrients while conserving moisture around the tree’s roots over extended periods of time.
- Make sure sprinklers irrigate all parts of your planting bed evenly including the side of roots nearest buildings for structural protection against wind gusts and storms.
- Drip emitter lines representing light side & heavy side should be placed at least one foot around the trunk with emitters no closer than 18 inches away from the trunk in order to promote good drainage away from the trunk while allowing water directly into tree roots without ponding up excess moisture around them which can lead to pest infestations as well as root rot/disease susceptibility.
5. Pest and Disease Control
Pest and disease control are important factors in keeping them healthy. It is crucial to know the common pests and diseases that attack trees, their prevention, and management techniques.
Common pests can include aphids, borers, beetles, and scale insects. These pests can damage the tree’s tissue by sucking fluids from it or boring into the main structure of the tree. To control these pests, treatments such as:
- Pruning dead or diseased branches
- Spraying insecticides
- Releasing natural predators such as lacewings or ladybugs
Common diseases that attack them include fungal diseases such as rusts and leaf spots as well as bacterial diseases such as fire blight and crown gall. Proper maintenance practices such as regular watering and fertilization can help reduce the prevalence of disease-causing pathogens on trees by promoting overall tree health. In cases where disease has taken root in a tree, treatment with:
may be necessary to stop the spread of infection before it reaches other parts of the tree or neighboring host plants.
With proper pruning, fertilizing and monitoring, your trees will reward you with excellent shade, spectacular fall foliage, beautiful blossoms and a wonderful addition to your outdoor space.
If you have any doubt or questions about the health of your trees, contact an arborist for advice; this will help ensure that the trees in your backyard remain healthy and strong for many years to come.