Avoid These Common Mistakes When Caring For Your Trees

Do you have a tree somewhere in your yard? Chances are, you probably have at least one. They are magnificent, after all. 

Caring for trees isn’t difficult, as they’re one of those plants where the less you do, the better they fare on their own.

Still, like with any living thing on this planet, trees need a helping hand every now and then. Just don’t make these common mistakes that can actually hurt your trees more than help!

Using too much mulch

Mulch is useful in the garden for so many reasons. It hides exposed tree roots and improves drainage. It also helps retain moisture so the soil does not dry out too quickly. 

But the key to getting the most out of your mulch is by watching how much you apply. 

Some gardeners make the mistake of piling up too much mulch, especially against the truck. This affects aeration and locks in moisture where it is not needed, leading to rot. 

As well, if the mulch is layer is thick and deep, this makes it difficult for the tree roots to get enough oxygen, causing development problems. 

Pro Tip: Opt for an organic mulch with a hardwood that breaks down slowly. Apply mulch 2-3 inches thick around the base of your tree.

How to mulch a tree

Placing a fire pit near low-hanging branches

Firepit Safety is paramount, especially when it comes to placement. The general rule of thumb is to keep a fire pit at least 10 feet away from any low hanging branches or objects. 

Sure, sitting around a fire underneath a tree sets the mood, but how is it affecting your tree?

The good news is that smoke won’t bother it much. What you want to watch out for is the heat. 

If low hanging branches are too close to the fire, it can cause the leaves to curl, and in more extreme circumstances, burn. 

Pro Tip: Make your fire pit the center of your outdoor living area by investing in a gas-powered pit. This type is low maintenance and easy to use. There are multi-purpose styles that double as side tables or coffee tables.

Say NO to pruning paint

Pruning is necessary to promote healthy tree branch growth, but do your tree a favor and let the cut ends heal on their own. 

Pruning paint is a product that is used to seal off the cut ends, but it can do more harm than good by sealing in harmful bacteria and fungi. 

Pro Tip: Let it breathe! Would you rub medicine on your wound that “seals” it? Do unto trees as you would have done unto you.

Don’t go overboard with topping

When a tree’s growth starts to interfere with power lines or your house structure, it’s time to give the branches a trim. But remember, there’s a big difference between a trim and topping.

Topping is the act of removing large branches, then letting new branches grow back over time.

This ensures you won’t have to deal with tangled power lines for a long while, but the shock can be enough to kill a tree or expose it to diseases, insects, and too much sun. 

Pro Tip: Leave this job to a professional arborist. They are knowledgeable in the best ways to assess and prune branches so that the tree stays happy and healthy. If your tree is too big for its current spot, it might be best to relocate it all together instead of trimming it.

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