Why are healthy trees important?
- Spending time in a beautiful, healthy yard can help
you relax and feel renewed.
- Plant foliage captures dust and other pollutants,
cleaning the air we breathe.
- Trees placed on the south and west sides of your house
can reduce air conditioning costs by 10-15%.
- Property values can be 5-20% higher for landscaped homes.
- Plants also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen,
renewing our air supply.
Maintaining Tree Health
- Trees require a strong, healthy root system in order to maintain
vigor and resistance to stress.
- A strong root system can be achieved by following proper
watering guidelines, mulching, and maintaining a healthy,
- Nutrient availability and abundant soil microbes are keys
to healthy, balanced soil.
- Nutrients can be applied by injecting organic fertilizer into
the root zones of trees putting nutrients right where they are
- It is important to avoid synthetic chemical fertilizers as they
are harmful to soil organisms and can pollute groundwater.
Proper Tree Planting
- An ideal size for a planing hole is about 3 times the diameter
of the root mass
- Measure the distance from the bottom of the root mass to
the root flare of the tree. This should be the depth of the
- Slope the sides of the planting hole to encourage the roots
to grow out from the base of the tree.
- Place the tree in the hole and make sure it is straight
before backfilling and remove any wood, burlap, or wire.
- Fill in the hole with about 1/3 of the backfill and pack it
next the the roots to support the tree.
- Continue filling the hole with soil while wetting with water
to avoid trapped air pockets.
- Stake the tree if necessary and remove the stakes after one
DO NOT APPLY SYNTHETIC FERTILIZER. THIS CAN BURN TREE ROOTS.
- Follow mulching guidelines for applying mulch.
- An application of compost tea at this time is extremely beneficial.
Proper Mulching Technique
- Applying a 2″-4″ layer of organic mulch imitates the soil
conditions in a natural environment and will improve
- Organic mulch will conserve moisture, regulate soil
temperatures, and provide a healthy environment for
beneficial soil microbes.
- Recommended mulches include bark, pine needles,
cocoa shells, wood chips, and compost.
- Mulch should be kept about 2-6″ away from the trunks of
trees and should be at least 6 times the diameter of the tree;
ideally out to the drip line of the tree.
- It is important that the mulch layer not exceed 4″ thick
and be kept away from the trunk as this will create conditions
that favor tree diseases and pests.
- There is no need to worry about the mulch attracting harmful
insects. Generally, any insects living in the mulch are beneficial
- The mulch will have to be replenished at least once a year.
- All landscape plants will benefit from mulching.
- This website has a detailed description for how to apply mulch.
Proper Tree Pruning
- Most trees can be pruned at any time of the year
although pruning in summer can cause added
- The three cut method should be used for any cuts
requiring the use of a saw.
- Branches should be pruned at the branch collar.
- Plan your cuts with the shape of the tree in mind.
- Start by pruning any dead, dying, diseased, dangerous,
or damaged branches.
- No more than 25% of the foliage should be removed
at any time. Older trees and citrus cannot even handle this
amount of foliage loss.
- Topping and Lion’s Tailing should be avoided. This
type of pruning is EXTREMELY damaging to the tree.
DO NOT DO THIS!
- Wound dressings and trunk paint should NOT be used
as they actually create ideal conditions for disease and
interfere with the tree’s natural defenses.
- Contact a Certified Arborist for any pruning that requires
leaving the ground or that you do not feel comfortable attempting.
These professionals have passed rigorous exams and will
provide the best possible care for your trees. Ask for
photos of work their company has done.