Tree Maintenance | Timberlane Tree Care Service - STL St. Louis / Jefferson County Tree Care Removal Service - Premier Arbor Care

Tree Maintenance

Trees are a wonderful part of nature, however, people try to put them in some of the most unnatural environments. Poor urban soils, pollution, drought, insects and disease are some of the problems that plague our urban forest. With proper diagnosis and treatment plans, Timberline’s arborists can ensure that your trees are healthy for the next generation to enjoy.

To avoid unnecessary care or removal, follow these tips when planting a new tree:

5 Tree Planting Tips

1.) Select the right tree for your site. Pay attention to the mature height and spread of the tree, as well as its water, soil, and sunlight requirements.

2.) Cover your tree while transporting from the nursery. Even on short trips, wind will strip leaves and draw water from the tree, causing unnecessary stress even before planting.

3.) Dig a hole of the proper size and depth. The hole you dig should be about twice the size of the current root ball or container. The root flare of the tree should be just above the ground line when you are finished. Often, tree trunks are covered with growing media at the nursery, and should be uncovered until the root flare is located.

4.) Mulch Properly. Organic and inorganic mulch can add beauty to the site, as well as mitigate erosion, and reduce soil drying due to wind and sun. Be sure to mulch the entire root area of your new tree, but don’t pile mulch around the trunk.

5.) Water, water, water. Water is the number one reason why newly planted trees die. While in the nursery, these trees are watered several times per day. Site conditions vary, but you should keep the soil around your new tree moist constantly. Usually, this means you will be watering every day.

Why You Shouldn’t Top Your Trees

Tree topping is the drastic removal, or cutting back, of large branches in mature trees, leaving large, open wounds which subject the tree to disease and decay. Topping causes immediate injury to the tree and ultimately results in early failure or death of the tree.

Many people respond to limbs falling by pruning improperly, often leaving the trunk and removing the large branches. Topping, as this technique is called, will not solve the problem of the tree being in the wrong place. Topping kills the tree over time by leaving large open wounds that never close and subject the tree to disease and rot.
Topped trees can regain their original height in as little as two years. The resulting fast- growing shoots are extremely weak, making them more susceptible to breakage and storm damage. Topping also results in rot. The weak sprouts and the decay increase your chances of property damage and liability.

If a tree has become too tall or wide for a location, the best solution is to remove the tree completely and replant the area with a tree that will fit the spot through all stages of its life.
The decision to remove a live tree that has started to cause problems may be difficult or heart wrenching if you have emotional ties to it, such as one planted on a special occasion or as a memorial for a family member.
As difficult as it may be, sometimes the kindest cut of all is the one made at the base of the trunk. While removing a large tree may cost more than topping, over time you will spend more time and money if you top a tree.

Myths About Topping

Myth: Topping a tree will reduce storm damage and the tree will be easier to maintain in the future
Fact: Topped trees can regain their original height in as little as two years. The fast-growing, extremely long and loosely attached shoots resulting from topping are more susceptible to breakage and storm damage. This is because they are weakly connected (if at all) to the internal structural system of the tree. Ultimately, a topped tree requires much more attention in the future (and, thus, more expense) than a properly pruned tree. Topped trees need to be topped again and again.

Myth: Topping will invigorate a tree.
Fact: Topping immediately injures a tree and results in health problems such as insect invasions and rot. Even the seemingly healthy new shoots are immediately infected by decay organisms, resulting in their inability to withstand storm damage; nor do they contribute any nutrition to the tree.

Myth: Topped trees will add value to your property.
Fact: Topped trees can become hazardous very quickly, and cause damage (either to your property or other’s), which makes them a liability rather than an asset. Losing an asset always reduces value.

For more information on the dangers of topping, please contact the Missouri Community Forestry Council or visit their website.