If you’re a Denver homeowner, you know how important it is to take care of your trees. Not only do they add beauty to your property, but they can also provide essential shade and help improve air quality. However, if you’re not familiar with proper tree care practices, you could be doing more harm than good. In this blog post, we will discuss the top Do’s and Don’ts of tree care in Denver.
What Is Tree Care?
Tree care is the process of providing essential maintenance to trees. This includes tasks such as watering, pruning, and fertilizing. Proper tree care can help your trees stay healthy and improve their lifespan.
Special Care for Denver Trees
Each region has unique tree care needs. For example, trees in Denver need to be able to withstand our harsh winters and hot summers. This means that they require different care than trees in other parts of the country. Denver soil is also known for being rocky and dry, which can be tough on trees.
As a Denver homeowner, you’ll want to make sure your trees are getting the best possible care, so read on for our top Dos and Donts of tree care.
1. Rethink That Mulch Volcano
Adding new mulch each spring is a habit that most of us are in, but there’s more to it than just spreading a few bags of fresh mulch around your landscaping. You need to make sure you’re not creating mulch volcanoes.
Mulch volcanoes happen when you pile mulch too high around the base of your tree and looks exactly like what its name implies. This can suffocate the tree and prevent it from getting the oxygen and water it needs. When the mulch cuts off access to oxygen and water, your tree may suffer from root rot or other problems.
It can also encourage pests and diseases, which can further damage your tree. Mulch volcanoes attract pests because the mulch provides them with a hiding place and a source of food. Tree disease tends to breed around mulch volcanoes because the moist, humid conditions are ideal for infection and growth.
To avoid creating a mulch volcano, make sure to keep the mulch several inches away from the tree trunk, and no higher than two to three inches thick. This will allow your tree to get the oxygen and water it needs without suffocating it.
How to Properly Mulch Your Trees
Mulching is actually a really important part of tree care. It helps to protect tree roots from temperature extremes, provides nutrients, and keeps the soil moist. The key is to not overdo it.
Here are some tips for properly mulching your trees:
- Use organic mulch, like wood chips, bark, or leaves.
- Keep the mulch several inches away from the tree trunk.
- Make sure the mulch is no more than two to three inches thick.
- Be careful not to damage tree roots when you’re applying or removing mulch.
2. Tree Topping Is A No-No
Feel like your tree is completely out of control? Your gut instinct might be to drastically trim it down off the top, but that would be a big mistake. Tree topping is the act of chopping off large branches, typically more than a third of the tree’s total height. This not only disfigures the tree, but it’s also dangerous and can lead to serious long-term damage.
Ever drive past a home with a tree that looks like it got a hack job, cut down to the nubs? That is the ugly result of tree topping. Besides aesthetics, here are some more important reasons why you shouldn’t top your trees:
- It causes reduced lifespan.
- Decreases property value.
- Topping, leaves stubs, that are susceptible to decay and disease.
- Topping makes trees more vulnerable to wind damage.
- It can lead to death if the tree is topped too severely.
Tree Trimming Best Practices
A better option is to regularly prune branches back to a healthy point of growth using proper cuts. This will help maintain the tree’s shape and leave it less susceptible to future damage.
Follow these guidelines for healthy tree pruning:
- Prune branches back to a lateral branch or the trunk.
- Make cuts at a 45-degree angle just above the point of growth.
- Avoid leaving stubs.
- Remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches.
- Hire an Arborist.
The best way to ensure your trees are being properly cared for is to hire a professional arborist. Arborists are trained in tree biology and have the experience and equipment to safely care for your trees.
Tree trimming is inherently dangerous. It requires the use of ladders, power tools, and climbing gear. Hire only professional arborists who are licensed, bonded, and insured, and provide proof of training and experience in this field.
In addition to tree trimming, arborists can also provide other services such as tree removal, stump grinding, and storm damage cleanup. They can also provide you with advice on how to keep your trees healthy after trimming and pruning.
3. Hire a Professional to Perform Regular Maintenance and Fertilize Your Trees
Your Denver trees require regular maintenance! To keep them happy and healthy there are several routine tree practices you should follow with fidelity:
- Watering: How much, how often, and when to water your trees properly can be confusing. The rule of thumb is one inch of water per week during the growing season (April through September in Denver) whether from rainfall or irrigation.
- Mulching: Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil, provides nutrients, and protects tree roots from compaction. Use organic mulch like wood chips, bark, or leaves. Create a donut shape of mulch around the base of the tree extending out to the edge of the branch spread. Keep mulch several inches away from the tree trunk to avoid rot.
- Fertilizing: Trees need food just like people and other plants. Fertilizing gives them the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. The best time to fertilize is in the fall so the trees can store the nutrients over winter.
- Pruning: Pruning is necessary to remove dead or dying branches, promote new growth and shape the tree. It’s important to prune properly though, as bad pruning can damage the tree.
Some tree maintenance practices can easily be taken care of by homeowners, but others are tricky and needs vary greatly depending on the species and age of your tree. That’s why it can be beneficial to hire a professional. Especially for fertilizing and pruning, professional arborists have the knowledge and expertise to properly and safely care for your trees.
Denver is home to alkaline soil, which can make it difficult for trees to absorb nutrients. Fertilizing your trees is one of the best things you can do to ensure their health and vigor. Trees require three main nutrients to thrive: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. We specialize in crafting custom fertilization plans, unique for each client’s landscape and trees.
Fertilizers can be applied in several different ways. The most common method is to broadcast granular fertilizer over the root zone area and then water it in. This method is less precise but is favored by homeowners because easier to do on your own.
Professionals prefer to apply fertilizer through a process called deep root feeding. Deep root feeding involves injecting a liquid fertilizer solution directly into the soil around the tree’s roots. Also called soil drench, this process applies the fertilizer solution to the entire root zone area.
Deep root feeding and soil drenches are more precise methods because we can target the amount of fertilizer that your trees need, and we can avoid wastage. These methods are also more effective because less fertilizer is lost to runoff and evaporation.
Trunk injections are another effective method of applying fertilizer to trees, but this should only be done by a certified arborist. Trunk injections are made directly into the tree’s trunk and can deliver a large number of nutrients directly to the tree’s vascular system.
Benefits of Hiring an Arborist
Proper tree care can help extend the life of your trees and improve their appearance. Well-cared-for trees are also less likely to damage your property or pose a hazard to your family. But tree care can feel like a full-time job! Save time and money by hiring our team of reliable arborists.
What you can expect:
- Free consultation
- Services completed by professional experts that are licensed, bonded and insured
- A tree care plan tailored specifically for your trees
- Thorough clean-up of your property after the work is completed
Maybe the most important benefit is the peace of mind that comes with knowing your trees are in good hands! Hiring an arborist is the best way to ensure your trees stay healthy and look their best, definitely a DO.