Tree Care Information
Choosing a tree
Trees offer social, environmental and economic benefits throughout their lifetime. But not all trees are equally well-suited for every planting site or in every climate. Tree selection and placement are two of the most important decisions a homeowner makes when landscaping a new home or replacing a tree. Many trees have the potential to outlive the people who plant them, so the impact of decisions about planting and locating trees correctly can last a lifetime. Matching the tree to the site benefits both the tree and the homeowner.
Buying high-quality trees
A high-quality tree, when planted and cared for correctly, may become a long-lasting asset to your property. In contrast, a low-quality tree may develop costly problems over time, increasing the need for maintenance and reducing the benefits a tree can provide.
Learn more about buying high-quality trees.
Tree quality characteristics
A high-quality tree has:
- strong form with well-spaced firmly attached branches
- a trunk free of wounds or damage
- a balanced root system to support healthy growth.
A low-quality tree has:
- weak form, in which multiple stems originate from the same point and branches grow into each other
- a trunk with wounds from handling or incorrect pruning
- limited, crushed or circling roots in an undersized root ball or container.
These problems, alone or in combination with each other, can greatly reduce a tree’s prospects for a long, attractive, healthy and productive life. When buying a tree inspect it carefully to identify problems related to form, injuries or roots.
While trees are dominant ornamental features in your home landscape they share this area with turfgrasses, shrubs and other plants. All these plants are growing in a common resource - the soil. The roots of trees, shrubs, turfgrass and bedding plants intermingle and compete for water and nutrients. The roots of a single mature tree may extend well into your lawn or flower beds.
Every treatment applied to the lawn (fertiliser and herbicide, for example) can impact the appearance and vitality of a tree. Conversely, treatments applied to a tree, such as pruning and fertilising, can influence the appearance and vitality of the underlying turfgrass or groundcover plants. The care of each plant within a garden or open space can affect the health of every plant in that landscape.
Plant health care
Symptoms, such as discoloured leaves, dead branches or early leaf drop can prompt a call to a local arborist. Sometimes the cause of concern is a minor problem that is easily explained and corrected. Other times the problem is more complex, with several underlying causes and a remedy that requires treatments extending over several years.
The solution is appropriate Plant Health Care. To better address situations such as these, arborists create Plant Health Care (PHC) programs. The objective of PHC is to maintain or improve the landscape's appearance, vitality and, in the case of trees, safety using the most cost-effective and environmentally sensitive practices and treatments available. Plant Health Care involves routine monitoring, preventive treatment and a strong working relationship between the arborist and the property owner.
Insects and diseases
Insects and diseases can threaten tree health. As soon as you notice any abnormality in your tree’s appearance you should begin a careful examination of the problem. By identifying the specific symptoms of damage and understanding their causes you may be able to diagnose the problem and select an appropriate treatment.
Trees and Turf
Woody plants and turfgrasses are critical design elements in urban and suburban landscapes. Trees and turf offer distinct personal, functional and environmental benefits. The intended benefits of these plants may never be obtained, however, if potential incompatibilities are not addressed.
Thinning grass under large shade trees; large tree roots that hinder mowing; young trees that don’t seem to grow; tree trunks badly damaged by lawn mowers or strimmers – all of these undesirable effects can be caused by tree and turfgrass conflicts.
Mulches are materials placed over the soil surface to maintain moisture and improve soil conditions. Mulching around the base of trees is one of the most beneficial things a homeowner can do for the health of a tree. However, improper mulching materials and practices may have little or negative impacts on the trees in your landscape.
Mature tree care
Think of tree care as an investment. A healthy tree increases in value with age and pays big dividends by increasing property values, beautifying our surroundings, purifying our air and saving energy by providing cooling shade from summer’s heat and protection from winter’s wind.
Regular preventative maintenance, designed to promote tree health and structural integrity, ensures a tree’s value will continue to increase and prevents the development of more costly problems in the future. An effective maintenance program, including regular inspections and necessary follow-up care – involving pruning, mulching, fertilising and additional soil management – can identify problems and correct them before they become damaging or fatal.