Investing in the health of your mature trees brings many benefits to you and your property.
A well-maintained tree:
- increases in value with age
- increases property values
- beautifies our environment
- purifies the air
- saves you energy (provides cooling shade in the summer and protection from winter’s winds)
A preventive care program from a Maryland or Washington DC tree expert for your landscape plants is like a savings plan. Regular maintenance, designed to promote plant health and vigor, ensures their value will continue to grow and is much less costly and time-consuming than curing one once it has developed problems. A good maintenance program includes regular inspections and the necessary follow-up care of mulching, fertilizing, and pruning, & can detect problems and correct them before they become damaging or fatal. Many tree species can live centuries – as long as 200 to 300 years, so including these practices when caring for your home landscape is an investment that will offer enjoyment and value for generations.
Mature Tree Inspection
You should have regular inspections of mature trees from a tree expert at least once a year. Look for four characteristics that represent tree vigor:
- new leaves or buds
- leaf size
- twig growth
- absence of crown dieback
Any abnormalities found during these inspections, including insect activity and spotted, deformed, discolored, or dead leaves and twigs, should be noted and watched closely. If you are uncertain as to what should be done, report your findings to Wood Acres Tree Specialists, certified Arborists.
Mulching Mature Trees
Mulching reduces environmental stress by providing trees with a stable root environment that is cooler and maintains moisture longer. Mulch can also prevent mechanical damage by keeping machines such as lawn mowers and string trimmers away from the tree’s base which can wound it and expose it to insects & disease. Mulch also reduces competition from surrounding weeds and turf.
Place mulch 2 to 4 inches deep and cover the entire root system, which may be as far as 2 or 3 times the diameter of the branch spread of the tree. If the area and activities happening around the tree do not permit the entire area to be mulched, it is recommended that you mulch as much of the area under the drip line of the tree as possible. When placing mulch, do not cover the actual trunk of the tree. This mulch-free area, 1 to 2 inches wide at the base, is sufficient to avoid moist bark conditions and prevent trunk decay.
An organic mulch layer 2 to 4 inches deep of loosely packed shredded leaves, pine straw, peat moss, or composted wood chips is adequate. Thicker mulch depths or plastic should not be used because it interferes with the exchange of gases between soil and air, which inhibits root growth.
Fertilization of Mature Trees
Fertilization is another important aspect of mature tree care. Trees require certain nutrients to function and grow -especially in urban landscapes. If fertilizer is not applied wisely, it may not benefit the tree at all and may even adversely affect the tree. When considering fertilizer, it is important to know which nutrients are needed and when and how they should be applied which is a fairly complex process because conditions vary greatly in soil and environment.
Wood Acres Tree Specialists can arrange to have your soil tested at a soil testing laboratory and can give advice on application rates, timing, and the best blend of fertilizer for each of your trees and other landscape plants.
Since mature trees have expansive root systems that extend from 2 to 3 times the size of the leaf canopy, a major portion of actively growing roots is located outside the tree’s drip line. Many lawn fertilizers contain weed and feed formulations that may be harmful to your trees. When you apply a broadleaf herbicide to your turf, the same herbicide that kills broadleaf weeds in your lawn is picked up by tree roots and can harm or kill your broadleaf trees if applied incorrectly. Understanding the actual size and extent of a tree’s root system before you fertilize is necessary to determine how much, what type, and where to best apply fertilizer.
Pruning the Mature Tree
Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure next to watering. Pruning removes dead, diseased, or insect-infested branches and improves tree structure, enhances vigor, or maintains safety. Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of (or cause damage to) a tree, no branch should be removed without a reason.
Overpruning is extremely harmful because without enough leaves, a tree cannot gather and process enough sunlight to survive. However, after pruning, the growth that does occur takes place on fewer shoots, so they tend to grow longer than they would without pruning. Pruning mature trees usually requires special equipment, training, and experience. If the pruning work requires climbing, the use of a chain or hand saw, or the removal of large limbs, then using personal safety equipment, such as protective eyewear and hearing protection, is a must. Wood Acres Tree Specialists Arborists can provide a variety of services to assist in performing the job safely and reducing risk of personal injury and damage to your property as we are fully insured and highly trained in the safe removal of trees.
The Plant Health Care Maintenance Program
Maintaining mature landscapes is a complicated undertaking but Wood Acres Tree Specialists & Experts in Maryland & Washington DC can simplify this for you. Consider our professional Plant Health Care (PHC) maintenance program for healthier trees and shrubs. The PHC program is designed to maintain plant vigor and includes the Plant Health Care Report & inspection to detect and treat any existing problems that could be damaging or fatal. Thereafter, regular inspections and the right kind of preventive maintenance determined by our tree experts will ensure tree and shrub health and beauty for your valuable property landscape.