It can be easy to forget that the big trees in your yard are plants just like your more fragile roses and flowers that need frequent care. 

Don’t forget to care for your larger plants just like you would your smaller ones. 

 

Start in the Fall

Proper tree maintenance starts in the fall. Prepare your trees for colder weather by pruning back unruly branches; inspecting the trees for dying limbs, insect damage or signs of disease; nourish your trees with plenty of water and organic mulch; and, if you’re planting, plant your new trees in the fall. 

Healthy, well-cared-for trees don’t snap, lose limbs or have termites. Prune branches that are broken, either from storms or disease, and also take any branches that are perilously close to your home or other property. Remember that pruning slows the growth of trees because they must heal the cuts before they resume growth. 

 

Keep a Distance

Remember that the tree isn’t just the trunk and branches. Getting too close to trees, even by building a deck or parking a car under it, can damage fragile root systems, making the tree less healthy and more prone to disease. Roots need two or three times the length of the tree’s branches to grow enough to support the whole tree. 

 

Cover it Up

A good layer of mulch will keep your tree cozy just like a warm fuzzy blanket keeps you warm when temperatures dip. Layer the mulch 2-3 inches deep around the base of your tree, but don’t let it touch the tree’s bark. Remove any older mulch before putting down a fresh layer. 

 

Choose the Right Tree

Every tree has it’s own place. And that place may not be in your yard. Don’t judge the mature tree by the tiny specimen you see in your tree nursery or garden store. Instead, consider the mature size of the tree (and look at the maximum; don’t bet on the minimum). Consider both the canopy size and the reach of the roots. Also look at the types of leaves it will drop and where they will fall.

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