Trees are wonderful additions to a landscape. Beautiful and functional, they offer so much for homeowners to appreciate. However, they don’t only give – they also take, as in, take time, energy, and money to care for. Every tree needs some basic maintenance to reach its optimal growth. But some trees require more maintenance than others. Caring for high-maintenance trees requires extra effort. Fortunately, with the right approach, you can establish a system to care for your high-maintenance trees that won’t feel like a full-time job.
How to Care for High-Maintenance Trees
If you have had many trees in your yard over the years, you may have noticed that some are more high-maintenance than others. For example, silver maples grow quickly and reach a large size – but that same growth can lead to real hassles depending on where they are planted. Without careful pruning, these trees can take over a landscape. They also die quickly. Many other maple species require less maintenance.
There are many reasons why caring for high-maintenance trees could be important to you. Maybe you bought a home with high-maintenance trees on the property. Or, you may have planted a tree that turned out to be more high-maintenance than you had anticipated. Whatever your reasons, the following tips will help you make sure your trees are properly cared for.
1. Research proper care for the tree based on species.
If you know the species name for your tree, take the time to look it up online. You are likely to find some helpful information about the tree, including care instructions. Every species is different and it’s possible that proper care for your tree could be different than for another tree.
Besides looking the tree up online, consider visiting your local garden shop or gardening club. Many trees are planted by many people in the same area. Your friends and neighbors may have some useful tips for care that you don’t know. Those tips may be specific to your area, while the tips online may not be.
2. Follow the basics of tree care.
While certain trees have unique care requirements, most trees will benefit from the basics. And the better you get at keeping up with the basics, the less trouble your tree will give you.
The following tips apply to most trees:
- Plant the tree in the right location. Plant big deciduous trees to the west, southeast, or southwest. Don’t plant big trees under power lines. Following these kinds of rules will help you avoid problems resulting from an improper location.
- Mulch the tree. Just about every tree can benefit from a thick layer of mulch. It helps retain water, maintain soil temperature, keep weeds down, and more.
- Water properly. Most trees need slow, thorough watering that penetrates the soil by a foot or more. A general rule for watering is to use 10 gallons of water for every inch of the tree’s trunk diameter.
3. Prune at the right time and in the right way.
Pruning is important to maintain the health of the tree – particularly if it is a high-maintenance tree. You don’t want to prune at the wrong time – like in the fall – and you want to use the right tools and proper techniques. Pruning is both an art and a science. It can mean the difference between a beautiful, healthy tree and a broken, sick tree.
4. Test the soil.
There can be surprising variations in soil composition that you may not be aware of. You may be doing your best to care for your high-maintenance tree but not be addressing the soil issues. The only way you can find out is through soil testing. By getting your soil tested, you can find out the pH level in the area as well as which minerals are present in the soil – and which minerals are missing.
You have plenty of options for soil testing. There are less expensive, at-home versions and there are professional options.
5. Ask an arborist.
Many homeowners assume that talking to an expert about caring for high-maintenance trees will cost an arm and a leg. The truth is that hiring a tree expert in Bountiful, Provo, Salt Lake City, or whatever area you live in, can be quite affordable. And it could make all the difference in the world for your high-maintenance tree.
At Utah’s Tree Co., we know trees better than most. We can help you come up with a maintenance schedule that will minimize your expense and maximize your tree’s health. It’s all about customization. We will take a look at your tree and the surrounding area, then advise you based on those real-world conditions.
If you would like to learn more about caring for your trees, just give us a call at (801) 330-8861 or fill out our online contact form. We are happy to come by and give you a free bid whenever is convenient for you.