TREE CARE FOR LANDSCAPE TREES
Trees are the largest, and usually most valuable, component of home and commercial landscapes. Healthy trees are an asset that gains in value each year and increases property value. Trees provide other benefits such as beautifying our properties, purifying the air, reducing energy costs by providing shade, and offering protection from winter winds.
Several maintenance items may need to be done to keep landscape trees healthy. Homeowners can do some tree care tasks themselves, while other tree care projects may need to be done by a professional arborist or tree service.
Periodic tree inspections by a professional, certified arborist will let you know the general health and condition of your landscape trees. The benefit of periodic tree inspections is that an arborist may be able to detect and treat a problem before it threatens the health of the tree. Arborists take many factors into account when they are performing a tree inspection.
Arborists look at the size of the tree leaves to make sure they are normal for that particular tree species. Leaf color is also important. Yellow leaves on a tree may indicate a nutrient deficiency or a tree root disorder. Brown or black spots on tree leaves could be the sign of a tree disease. Chewed leaves or holes in leaves are a likely indicator of insect activity.
Arborists can determine the overall health of the tree by inspecting the tree twigs and branches. The arborist can see the amount of growth over the past several years by inspecting the twigs of a tree. When trees are not in leaf the arborist looks for the number and size of the buds on the tree branches.
When viewing the trunk or larger tree limbs an arborist will look for normal bark growth, trunk cavities, decay fungi, V-shaped branch unions, tree borer holes, cracks in the tree trunk or large branches, abnormal growth and broken tree branches. By looking at hundreds, or thousands, of trees in Kent County our local arborists are able to see abnormalities not often noticed by most homeowners.
WATERING LANDSCAPE TREES
Landscape trees in Kent County are at the mercy of Mother Nature. In the summer months this means that trees must often endure drought conditions. One of the best tree care maintenance tasks a homeowner can do is water their landscape trees during a drought.
Watering landscape trees is not a task that needs to be done every week. It’s usually sufficient to water trees bi-weekly or even every three weeks during a drought, as long as enough water is being applied to reach the tree roots. The best way to water trees is to use a soaker hose placed under the crown of the tree. Allow the hose to run for several hours during each watering so the water can reach the tree roots which may be 12 or 18 inches below ground level.
Drought stressed trees are often prime candidates to be attacked by insect or disease pests – especially tree borers. Drought stress weakens trees and weak trees are particularly attractive to damaging tree insects.
TREE INSECT AND DISEASE CONTROL
Some landscape trees are prone to certain insect or disease pests, while others hardly ever experience insect or disease problems. Your local arborist will be able to advise you during the tree inspection process which trees might benefit from insect or disease control treatments.
Arborists in Kent County utilize various methods to control tree insect and disease pests. Tree spraying is the most common technique used, but depending on the situation, the arborist may recommend tree trunk injections or soil injections. Some trees may need insect or disease control treatments applied every year to remain healthy. In other situations treatments are only needed to combat a sudden, but temporary, build up of an insect pest population.
The first tree care services use to fertilize trees by auguring holes in the ground and packing the holes with cow or horse manure. Later, the manure was replaced by manufactured agricultural fertilizers. Tree services then switched to the liquid deep-root fertilization process using tanker trucks and soil probes.
More recently, tree services have begun to offer an array of soil amendment options. These expanded offerings may or may not include the traditional ingredients of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Many tree services now offer such options as mycorrhizae (a beneficial fungi), various rhizobacteria mixes to improve soil health, compost tea, kelp fertilizers, root stimulants, and soil pH reducer treatments. All of these extra ingredients are incorporated in an attempt to make urban soils more forest-like which results in healthier landscape trees.