How should homeowners nurture their trees?

How should homeowners nurture their trees?

Trees are a valuable part of our landscape and need to be properly maintained for optimal health. Like most living organisms, they are affected by their surroundings and environmental changes. Arborists and tree service professionals agree that homeowners should monitor their trees on a weekly basis to ensure longevity.

Here are 5 tips from highly rated McKinney Brothers Tree Service of Dedham, Mass., on how to keep trees healthy:

1. Avoid extra mulch. Mulching is one of the best ways to keep your trees healthy. Mulch provides both insulation for tree roots and adds a nice touch to landscaping. But, avoid making the common mistake of applying too much mulch because it can create excessive moisture which can damage tree roots. The recommended amount is 2 to 4 inches.

2. Know when to water. The best time to water is early in the morning. The chance of water evaporation is minimal in the morning, because the air is cooler and the wind is calm. Remember to water your trees twice a week, especially during drought conditions. 

3. Prune correctly. Pruning can be one of the most beneficial things to do for your trees, but only when it’s appropriate. "When a tree has dead, diseased or broken branches, we selectively prune to improve its structure, form and appearance," says owner, Kirk McKinney. If a tree has lost some of its crown, yet the root system is still intact, removing damaged branches and pruning existing leaders will improve the strength in the remainder of the tree.

4. Don’t ignore signs. In the crown, look for branches that are dead, broken, hanging or cracked. Branches with a substantial amount of decay and cavities are another warning sign. Be sure to look for cracks, cavities, and decay in the tree trunk.   

5. Contact an arborist. Consult with an arborist if you have concerns about your trees. Most tree service companies hire arborists because they are certified professionals trained in the art of planting and maintaining individual trees. They can provide preventive maintenance, including the removal of dead branches, light thinning which allows wind through the crown, and weight reduction to eliminate additional hazards.

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