Sunday, June 3, 2012

are you giving your trees a good home?

Proper tree care for your mature trees is a mystery to some. Plant a tree and nature will take care of the rest, right? That may be true in some rural forests, but in your yard and in your community, trees need a special kind of care. Trees need to be protected from...people!
Trees in our neighborhood contribute to the quality of our lives, and make our communities more livable. Urban trees clean our air, cool and shade our homes, and increase the value and attractiveness of our community.
If your trees had the opportunity, would they move to your neighbor's yard? If so, here are some tips you need to know about how to make your own yard safe for your mature trees. Learning about proper tree care can prevent you from becoming your tree's worst enemy.
Here's what you need to know about how to properly care for those majestically mature trees.
Tree Inspection
Regular tree inspections can catch changes in a tree’s health before a disease, insect, or environmental problem becomes too serious to address. Ideally, mature trees should be inspected at least once a year to assess four characteristics of tree vitality: new leaf or bud formation, leaf size, twig growth, and absence of crown dieback (gradual death of the upper part of the tree).

Any abnormalities found during these inspections, such as insect activity and/or spotted, deformed, discolored, or dead leaves and twigs, should be noted and monitored closely. If you are uncertain about what to do, contact Trees "R" Us, Inc if you are in the Chicagoland area for advice on treatment options.

Mulching can reduce environmental stress by providing trees with a more moderate root environment that has fewer temperature and moisture extremes than the surrounding soil. Mulch reduces competition from weeds and grass and prevents mechanical damage by keeping lawn care equipment away from the tree’s base. Mulches made from plant matter, such as shredded leaves, pine straw, peat moss, or composted wood chips, will add nutrients to the soil as they decompose and help improve overall soil biology. To be most effective, mulch should be placed 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) deep and cover as much of the root system as possible. (Roots can extend as far as 2 or 3 times the diameter of the branch spread of the tree.) When placing mulch, care should be taken not to cover the actual trunk of the tree. A mulch-free area around the base that is 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) wide is sufficient to avoid overly moist bark conditions.

Organic Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of Trees "R" Us, Inc. offers a wide variety of mulch at extremely competitive prices.  Contact Organic Solutions, Inc. for more information or visit their website at

Soil Management
Soil management is another important aspect of mature tree care. Urban landscape trees often exist in soils that lack the nutrients, pH (acidity or alkalinity), drainage, or pore space (air and water space) needed for growth and development. Proper fertilization based on plant needs can correct many deficiencies that limit growth. Sometimes soil nutrients may be sufficient, but soil pH levels may prevent plant uptake. In this case, soil amendments, such as sulfur, lime, and even some mulches, can alter soil chemistry and help alleviate plant stress. Drainage systems or grading can help correct saturated soil conditions, although trenching or earthmoving activities within the tree’s root zone may cause more harm than good. Compacted soils can be tilled mechanically or with compressed air to increase porosity and encour- age root growth. Care must be taken when loosening soil under the drip zone to avoid root damage.

When dealing with a mature tree that provides considerable benefit and value to your landscape, it is worth the time and investment to have the soil tested for nutrient content and texture. An arborist from Trees "R" Us, Inc. can arrange to have your soil tested at a soil testing laboratory and recom- mend treatments based on the results.

Pruning is often desirable or necessary to remove dead, diseased, or insect-infested branches and to improve tree structure, enhance vitality, or reduce risk. While pruning has many benefits, the removal of live branches creates a lasting wound. No branch should be removed without a reason. The removal of large limbs on a mature tree requires careful consideration.

Pruning large trees requires special equipment, training, and experience. If the pruning work requires climbing, the use of a chain or hand saw, or the removal of large limbs, the use of personal safety equipment, such as protective eyewear and hearing protection, is a must. Arborists from Trees "R" Us, Inc. can assist in performing the job safely and reducing the risk of personal injury and damage to your property. We can also determine which type of pruning is necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance, and safety of your trees.

Although tree removal is a last resort, there are circumstances when it is necessary. The professionally trained Trees "R" Us, Inc. arborists can help decide whether or not a tree should be removed and possess the skills and equipment to safely and efficiently remove trees. Removal is recommended when a tree:
is dead, dying, or considered irreparably hazardous 
is causing an obstruction or is crowding and causing harm to other trees and the situation is impossible to correct through pruning 
is to be replaced by a more suitable specimen
should be removed to allow for construction

With proper maintenance, trees can add aesthetic and economic value to your property. Poorly maintained trees, on the other hand, can be a significant liability. For more information on mature tree care and tree maintenance, contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. at 847-913-9069 or visit our website at Trees "R" Us, Inc. services the Chicagoland area including the North Shore and Northwest Suburbs. 

Thanks for reading,

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