It’s always exciting to plant a new tree to add value and beauty to your landscape. Homeowners are careful to take all the precautions needed for their young, growing trees to make sure they turn into healthy mature trees when they stop growing. Do they stop growing in maturity, though?
As humans, our youth is when we do most of our growing, and then we stop when we reach adulthood. Trees, as it turns out, continue growth into maturity, and scientists have found that trees actually grow faster the older they get. Older growing trees still need some care to keep them thriving. Eventually, they reach a certain height where they stop growing taller, but they will continue to grow wider.
Like all green plants, trees create their own food to grow through photosynthesis. They use their leaves to absorb energy from sunlight and carbon dioxide from the air and their roots to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. So if growing trees make their own food, what else do they need? Here are five tips to help keep your growing trees at peak health.
1. Water Needs for a Growing Tree
As we know, young trees need to be watered regularly. Mature trees also need water, though as they’re now stronger, they may only need watering in dry months or during a drought. The roots of your mature tree go deep, so the ground beneath the mature tree needs to be saturated and receive a deep watering.
Chances are that your sprinklers won’t wet the soil deeply enough to reach the roots, so it’s best to manually water or use drip irrigation. The entire root zone needs to be reached when watering, but it won’t need to be watered again until the soil is partially dry.
It’s important to note that grass growing up against the tree trunk and in the root zone will be sharing water with the tree. Young trees that aren’t as strong are more at risk of developing poorly when they have to compete with the grass for water and nutrients, but even mature trees still have to compete. It’s best to clear grass from the base of your tree and cover the area in mulch to give your growing tree the entirety of the water.
2. Use Mulch
Mulch is a very helpful tool to keep your growing trees healthy. It helps keep the soil cool in warm months, reduces weeds, improves the soil’s texture, and helps conserve moisture. There are many different types of mulch that can be used, but make sure you’re applying the correct amount to receive the benefits.
Apply about three inches of mulch in a doughnut shape around the base of your tree. Keep some space between the mulch and the base of your tree to keep the trunk healthy. The mulch helps the soil stay hydrated, but the trunk should be allowed to dry to prevent rot. If the mulch is put up against the trunk and causes tree rot, it can attract pests and spread disease. As an added bonus, using mulch around your growing tree adds a cleaner and more attractive look to your landscape.
3. Pruning and Fertilizing
Removing dead or diseased branches helps keep a tree healthy. It improves the strength and structure as well as keeping your tree looking nice. If you have a large tree that needs pruning, it’s best to call in a certified arborist to safely and properly prune your trees at the right time of year.
It may seem prudent to fertilize on an annual basis, but most mature trees don’t need the extra nutrients that often. Younger trees may need help via fertilization as they’re becoming more established trees, but mature trees only need to be fed if they have yellow foliage or look like they’re growing poorly. If that’s the case, getting a soil test will help determine what’s lacking and what nutrients your growing tree isn’t getting enough of.
4. Protect Your Tree
Always take caution to protect your tree’s roots and the trunk of the tree. Damage to the trunk or roots can weaken the tree. Any time a lawnmower or weed eater is being used to maintain your yard, give your growing tree plenty of space. Because mulch helps prevent weeds, there’s no need to use the lawnmower or weed eater near the trunk.
Compacted soil reduces the amount of oxygen in the ground, doesn’t allow necessary water infiltration into the root zone, and restricts the tree from absorbing as many nutrients as it would have. Always keep heavy equipment and cars away from the root area of the tree to prevent compacting the soil around the trunk and preserve the tree’s health.
5. Pest Prevention
Pests can cause a lot of damage to your tree. Depending on what kind of pests, they can be very difficult to remove. This means, take precautions to prevent pests rather than controlling them once the tree has been infected.
As pests like to feed on debris and weeds, keeping the base area of your tree clear of leaves or fruit that fall from the tree during colder months is a great way to prevent pests. It also prevents diseased spores from landing in the debris, which can last through the colder months and infect the trees in the spring.
Pruning and removing damaged, diseased, or dead limbs can also keep unwanted pests away as well as stop any diseases from spreading by allowing more sun exposure and better air circulation to the healthy parts of the tree.
The professional and certified arborists at Mr. Tree have a well-trained and caring team. Whatever your tree service needs, we can help. From tree pruning and lot clearing to calling and getting advice, we are happy to help you. Feel free to browse through our website and blog for a better understanding of how we can help, and don’t hesitate to call with any questions.