Tree Care Basics

Trees increase property values, beautify surroundings, save energy, and provide fresh air. They also require proper care to stay healthy.

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tree careSelecting the Right Tree

The right tree in the right place is key to lower maintenance, better results, and the longevity of your landscape investment. When planting a new tree or replacing existing trees, it is important to choose a species that will fit in the space and perform the function you want it to provide, whether it be visual interest, shade/energy reduction windbreak, or a street or sidewalk tree.

You should also consider the size the tree will grow to at maturity, which is typically based on the species and the expected climate conditions of your area. For example, if you are planting in an area close to your home or near power lines, you may need to consider how tall the full-grown tree will be and make sure it can clear any structures and not cause damage. Lastly, you should always take into account the soil conditions and drainage in the planting site to ensure your tree can thrive there.

Each species has its own ideal climate, light, moisture, and wind requirements to help it thrive and maintain its strength and vitality over time. When a tree is regularly subjected to conditions it does not prefer, it will become stressed and weak, making it more susceptible to pests and diseases.

This is why it is so important to know your hardiness zone and use that when selecting the appropriate tree species for your region. It will help you choose a tree that will be able to survive winter temperatures in your area and give it the best chance for a long, healthy life. If you are planting in a challenging location, like a parking strip where the space is narrow and there is often traffic or power lines overhead, you will need to plant a smaller, more compact tree to keep it from being damaged by cars and trucks. Your arborist can help you select the best options for these types of locations. In addition, you should also talk to your local garden center or county extension agent for recommendations on the best trees for your unique area.


Pruning is a crucial aspect of tree care because it helps trees establish a strong structure for growth and maintain their health. It eliminates dead, diseased, or damaged branches and encourages branching, which helps with overall vigor. It also opens up sunlight to lower areas of the canopy, which can promote flower and fruit production.

When pruning a landscape tree, keep in mind that it is difficult and unwise to dramatically change the natural form of the plant. The goal should be to remove potential problems and improve the appearance of the plant while eliminating the need for removal.

Dead limbs weaken the tree and can create entry points for insects and diseases. Additionally, they can obstruct walkways and streets or damage the siding of homes and cars. Pruning a tree can improve safety by removing such limbs, as well as correct a variety of other concerns.

A common practice is to prune a young tree to promote the development of a single leader. However, this can lead to multiple trunks at maturity, which may require extensive pruning later in the life of the tree to maintain a healthy and attractive shape. Pruning should always be done to a point where there is a live branch or bud at least half the diameter of the cut limb, which will help to ensure that the limb heals properly.

Many shade and flowering ornamental trees set their buds in the fall or winter, so pruning them too soon can reduce their ability to produce flowers that season. The same is true for plants that flower on spurs formed on wood that matured the previous year, such as azaleas and forsythias.

For fruit and nut trees, pruning is important to maximize their production. It increases the number of fruiting spurs, which can lead to a bountiful harvest. It can also improve the quality of the fruit and reduce disease and insect pressures on the plants. More importantly, it can prevent tree limbs from hanging over houses and causing damage. Pruning can also be used to train landscape trees into desirable forms such as espaliers, topiaries, or pollards.

Insect Control

Insect pests can be detrimental to tree health. They can kill a tree in a very short period, so it is important to treat them before they become too serious. Many different insecticides and pest control products can be used to protect trees from insects. The type of product used depends on the problem and the season. It is also important to maintain proper cultural practices, which will help keep your trees healthy and resistant to pest infestations.

Proper cultural practices include regular watering, not overfertilizing, and pruning. In addition, removing weeds around the base of your trees will prevent their roots from competing with the trees for water and nutrients.

One of the best ways to protect your trees from insects is to apply a soil-applied systemic insecticide. These products are absorbed by the roots and travel throughout the tree to kill the bugs that would otherwise eat it from the inside out. These are great for elm leaf pests, aphids, scale insects, grubs, and caterpillars, as well as wood-boring larvae. They are especially effective in preventing elm disease.

Another way to protect trees is by using horticultural oil. This is a spray applied to the trunk and branches of the trees. The horticultural oil smothers the mites and other sap-sucking insects. This is particularly helpful with aphids, leaf miners, and spruce beetles.

Lastly, we use insecticidal soaps to control aphids and other sucking insects. These products work by irritating the skin of the insects, so they stop feeding. However, this can be problematic if sprayed too close to the trunk or the leaves, which can lead to phytotoxicity.

One last option for protecting trees against insect infestations is to inject the trees with a tree-injected insecticide. This is a safer alternative to the traditional methods of spraying or dusting and is extremely effective against pests. The injections are applied directly into the tree, and the chemicals are absorbed by the insects that feed on them. They cannot be absorbed by people, animals, or beneficial insects. This method of insect control is becoming increasingly popular for its effectiveness and safe application.

Tree Removal

Trees add beauty to landscapes, provide shade, and attract wildlife, but they also present safety hazards when they are in poor condition. When a tree is dead, diseased, or leaning precariously, it may be time to remove it.

Professional tree services can safely and efficiently remove trees. They have specialized equipment for climbing, cutting, and hauling away the wood. They can also use aerial lifts and boom equipment to reach the upper limbs of larger trees without using ladders or climbing the trunks. They know how to properly operate these pieces of equipment, as well as how to assess the health and safety risks for themselves and other people.

It’s not always easy to decide when a tree should be removed, but it can be a good idea for several reasons. For example, if a tree is dead or dying and is close to the home or power lines, it could fall and cause damage during a storm. Overgrown trees can also be a safety risk, as they can obstruct traffic and other areas of the property.

Some homeowners choose to get rid of a tree because it is in the way of an outdoor renovation project, such as building a deck or adding on to a home. If a new structure will be built in the vicinity of a tree, it’s important to have a qualified arborist inspect it and determine whether it is safe to keep the tree or not.

Other reasons to remove a tree include if it blocks an important view or is in the way of a driveway, sidewalk, or other structure. If a tree requires full sun and is planted in a shady spot, it will not thrive when replaced with a species that needs the same amount of sunlight. If the original tree was damaged by a pest or disease, planting a new one in the same location can increase the chances of the problem spreading to other plants.

Trees are vital to the environment and add value to homes and businesses. They help improve the quality of air by removing carbon dioxide and creating oxygen, so it’s important to maintain their health. By having them inspected regularly and removing unhealthy ones, you can enjoy their benefits while reducing safety risks and potential damage.