Did you know that trees should not be trimmed or serviced by a regular landscaping company? Though not intentional there are many mistakes landscaping companies make that can permanently damage or injure your trees. Our ISA Certified Arborists drive around to different neighborhoods and businesses around Katy and Fulshear gawking at the sight of trees that have been gutted or maimed. To an Arborist the sight of injured trees is horrifying.
Knowledge is power, so we want you to know the top five mistakes landscapers and DIYers make so that you understand why hiring a professional tree service company is so important.
Tree Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid
- Over Pruning
- Mulching Around the Base of a Tree
- Removing the Leader
- Wounding Tree by Flush Cutting
- Lion Tailing
When tree limbs and branches are cut too aggressively they can become vulnerable to sunburn, malnutrition, pest infestations, and diseases. One common scenario is over-lifting or cutting off too many bottom branches.
Another is tree topping, which means cutting off too much of the top of the tree. A freshly pruned tree should never look starkly different than it did before branches were trimmed. Proper pruning yields subtle changes with the foliage left full and intact.
Mulch Around the Base of a Tree
Did you know that mulch should never touch the base of a tree? Sure, you should have mulch a few inches deep starting one foot away from the base of the tree trunk. Moist mulch helps feed important water and nutrients to the tree roots far underground. Supplementing the mulch with manure, sawdust, or peat moss also helps retain moisture throughout the year.
A tree with mulch touching the base will develop what we call browning, and sometimes even fungus or disease. If you have mulch around the base of your trees, please to outside right now and pull the mulch back a good foot from the trunk to save the tree.
Removing the Leader
The leader branch of a tree is the dominant stem. The leader stem is typically the tallest and most central tree branch. The leader should never be removed because the tree could become diseased and die. In some cases the lower branches will rub against one another and brake off, causing the tree to die from a disease from exposure to the gaping wound. When codominant, or two competing leaders are present the one growing in the best direction should be removed.
However, it’s best to remove a competing leader when the tree is young. A slow-growing leader is a sign of pruning negligence, and the lower branches growing longer toward the bottom of the tree need to be trimmed. If a competing leader is allowed to compete with the main branch it can cause a junction called a crotch that, over time, can cause one of the heavy branches to snap off, splitting the tree in half. This can lead to tree failure.
Cutting off a tree branch as close as possible to the trunk is flush-cutting. Healthy tree stems have an important branch collar and ridge area that help them compartmentalize wounds and callus formation, protecting it like a scab protects a cut on our skin.
You should never make flush-cut tree branches; instead, try to cut the tree at an angle leaving a few inches above the collar and branch ridge so the tree won’t be vulnerable to diseases and parasites. The collar and branch ridges are visible if you look look closely where the branch protrudes from the trunk.
Lion Tailing a Tree
Lion tailing is the practice of cutting too many lower and inner branches, leaving only small tufts of foliage at the very end of the top branches. The shape of the gutted tree resembles a lion’s tail, with long branches and a few leaves left sprouting at the very top.
Lion Tailing leaves many wounds on a tree, making it vulnerable to diseases, fungus, and pests. It also removes the protective shade the lower branches provided and the tree is now vulnerable to sunburn. Never lion tail a tree, call a professional tree expert when it’s time to trim your trees.
Contact Cody’s Tree Service: We Fix Tree Problems
Email us or Call (281) 391-3450 to request a tree assessment or to fix one of the tree problems we mentioned. Our team of professional tree service experts serves homeowners, property managers, communities, and businesses throughout Katy and Fulshear, Texas. Whether you need a tree doctor to mend a sick tree or commercial tree maintenance service, we’ll be here for you when you need us.