Proactive Health Care
Written by: Certified Arborist, Jean Ferdinandsen
From the title, you may be thinking of the health of yourself, a loved one, or a pet. The same ideas and concepts can be applied to the health of your trees.
Being proactive allows you to take control and action earlier, rather than waiting for something to happen. This puts you in charge and costs less in the long run.
Start by paying attention and monitoring your trees. Do they look the same? Has anything changed? Is this normal for the species and time of year? Do they look the same as they have in the past?
Set realistic expectations for your tree’s performance. A young tree grows and responds different from an old tree, for example. My teenager moves and eats a lot more than my 90-year-old mother. Just a few spots or holes in a leaf may not mean treatment is warranted.
Being aware of common insects and diseases can help guide your tree care. For example, is apple scab a problem on your crabapple? Protective fungicides may be utilized before disease develops. Do Japanese beetles eat your linden tree some years? You can watch for them beginning around the 4th of July, and then treat only if needed.
Explore options for action against potential issues or threats. This allows you to act in advance. Being proactive vs. reactive costs less and helps manage your time and budget. You can prepare and plan instead of dealing with emergencies. Much like defensive driving, acting in advance allows you to eliminate or reduce problems and avoid worse situations.
A few areas of tree care are very easy to do:
- Proper watering helps new trees establish, reduces stress, and helps evergreens get through the winter.
- Mulching reduces weed competition, and moderates soil temperature and moisture. Mulching the root zone can also help increase organic matter, which is often lacking in our residential soils.
- Proper pruning develops strong branch structure. This helps avoid storm damage, improves health, avoids conflicts with buildings, etc. It is easier and cheaper to properly prune a small tree than a large one. Small problems then do not get a chance to become large ones. It is important to prune younger trees more frequently to help them develop properly. Keep in mind that pruning frequency varies with age, species, and site.
The Certified Arborists at Wachtel Tree Science are here to help you proactively keep you trees healthy and beautiful.