Trees are generally pretty hardy once they are established. However, there are some myths out there about tree care and maintenance that you should know about and avoid to increase the chances of your tree’s long-term success. Here are some tips for avoiding the most common mistakes.
Here’s what not to do:
Putting excessive amounts of mulch around the base of the tree and close to the trunk.
Spreading too much mulch, too thickly immediately around the base of a tree, right up to the trunk can compact the soil and essentially starve the tree of oxygen and nutrients.
Putting Girdling around a tree
Wrapping plastic or a guard of some description can start with the best of intentions. However, if not installed correctly and with the right materials, it can harm your tree by suffocating it.
Filling a tree cavity with concrete
This might be a popular urban tree myth, however, filling a tree cavity with concrete does not make it stronger! If your tree has a wound or hole, it is perfectly capable of looking after itself.
Using improper pruning techniques
Not using proper techniques to prune your trees can damage them, make them look terrible and in the worst case scenario – kill them. Pruning is performed for a reason and is done under certain guidelines to improve the tree’s health. These guidelines don’t normally involve randomly hacking at a tree! If you’re unsure, call a professional Arborist in to do the job.
Having too many plants close together
Planting too many trees and plants near one another means they will need to compete for water, food and nutrients which can be in scarce supply in a small area, increasing the likelihood of starvation and death.
Using pesticides or herbicides
Harsh chemical pesticides and herbicides can be dangerous to your trees and get into their water supply and root systems. Use natural alternatives where possible.
Pruning in the wrong season for your tree
If you prune your tree at a time that is not favourable to the tree species, it can leave the tree exposed as it’s unable to regenerate, leaving it vulnerable to the threat of insect infestation and disease. Always check this detail in accordance with your particular type of tree.
Unnecessary staking of a tree
It’s common to think a tree might need a little help and use a stake to give it extra support. However, this is in most cases, not necessary. Staking or ‘guying’ a tree can cause abnormal tree growth, bark damage and cause a tree to become top heavy.
Hanging items from your tree with screws or nails
When a tree’s bark is penetrated, it is exposed to disease and insect infestation, so screwing nails into a tree will leave it open to risk.
Damaging the trunk or roots with a lawnmower or whipper snipper
You might think you’re not doing any harm when you run the lawn mower over those exposed roots in the ground, but you actually could be cutting off the trees water and nutrient supply. Show a little more care or try bordering off the area.
Here’s what you should do:
Keep an eye on your tree and notice any changes in its appearance.
Are the leaves dying, falling off, changing colour? Are there insects present you didn’t notice before? Your vigilance can be the difference in having a sick tree treated and letting it die.
Always use proper pruning techniques that will encourage healthy tree growth.
Consult a professional Arborist if you’re unsure.
Lightly mulch around the tree trunk to keep weeds at bay being careful not to over-mulch.
Give trees and plants enough area for their root structure, and avoid having anything immediately around the base or trunk.