A Comprehensive Guide to Preventative Tree Maintenance

When grown in an urban setting, trees rarely achieve their full size and stay healthy without a lot of specialized care and planning. Unfortunately, most tree care practices are reactive rather than proactive. Homeowners tend to only call arborists for help after they notice a problem with their trees that they would like the arborist to fix. However, treatments to resolve health problems with trees aren’t always easy, cheap, or successful. In general, preventing a problem from afflicting a tree is much easier than correcting a problem after it occurs.

Most common tree issues are easily preventable with the proper care. If you’re a tree owner in the greater Sioux Falls area, keep reading to learn a few of the crucial things that you can do to prevent tree health issues.

The Best Preventative Tree Care Practices

  • Water When Needed – Trees of all ages need plenty of water to survive and thrive. Stress from lack of water is one of the most common and harmful problems that can afflict trees in the Sioux Falls area. Many property owners make the mistake of thinking that they only need to water young or newly planted trees, and that larger trees will take care of themselves. However, during a hot summer drought, even the oldest, tallest trees on your property may need to be deep watered to beat the heat. (** Overwatering is also an issue. If you are reading this and thinking I water and my trees still are sick, perhaps it is too much water, or watering too frequently!).

  • Protect the Root Zone – In an urban environment, soil compaction and root damage is the leading cause of decline and early death in trees. Trees are reliant on their roots to absorb key nutrients from the soil, allowing for the growth of healthy branches and foliage. If the roots of your trees suffer severe enough damage, they may no longer be able to sustain the trees, causing them to deteriorate and die. This protection extends to competition from grass. Tree roots need a favorable place to grow (see mulch).

  • Proper Pruning – Pruning is a simple form of preventative tree maintenance that is often overlooked (especially in young trees). Urban trees will need to be pruned from time to time, either for clearance from nearby buildings or to shape the structure of the tree. Having a long term pruning plan in place to shape the growth of a tree is probably the most overlooked yet most beneficial tree care practice for ensuring long-term health.

  • Use Mulch – Placing an even layer of mulch around the base of trees is greatly beneficial to their health. Mulch prevents competition for nutrients from grass and weeds and also retains moisture in the soil, keeping your trees hydrated. Proper mulching is a great form of preventative tree care. Be sure there is no barrier between the soil and mulch or you do not get the full benefits of the mulch and could even be causing stress depending on the barrier used (weed fabric/plastic)..

Let a Consulting Arborist Create a Tree Care Plan for You

If you have trees, and want them to look their absolute best for the long haul, consider hiring a consulting arborist who can develop a long-term care plan to prevent the majority of problems before they occur. Connect with Aspen Arboriculture Solutions today if you’d like to work with a professional arborist in the Sioux Falls area or the greater Midwest!