Trees need to be managed as part of the over all landscape, keeping in mind their limitations as biological organisms. Trees grow, thrive, decline, and die in a natural cycle that plays out every single day. It is important to understand that trees use their available growth resources efficiently and economically to maintain their health. Trees react to short term stresses by swaying, bending, or breaking. They react to long term stress by adjusting growth patterns to develop resistance to failure. Homeowners can help, or inadvertently hinder these natural processes.
Maintaining healthy trees involves taking preventative action such as following proper planting and pruning standards, staking trees when necessary, mulching, and appropriate pruning. It also involves emergency actions taken after storms or accidents to restore a tree to a healthy condition.
Selection of the right tree for the right place and proper planting of trees are the first steps in good tree care. Selection requires an examination of the site and then consideration of species or varieties to fit the conditions of the site. In order to reduce hazards remember that fast growing trees sacrifice structural capabilities in their quick ascent to form a canopy, while slower growing trees are generally stronger structurally. The form of the tree should be appropriate for the space available. Proper handling, planting, and after-care will reduce future problems. Dessication, improper planting depth, lack of mulching, incorrect staking, and lack of water are common mistakes that reduce tree survival.
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