Just planting trees is a step towards sustainability, but improper tree care can actually sap resources and harm the environment. Follow these tips to care for your trees in the greenest way possible.
Mulch your trees to retain moisture and nutrients in the soil. Mulching is one of the best things you can do for your trees. A good "blanket" of mulch keep water in and pests out. Mulch reduces weeds and improves the structure of soil. It also can prevent damage from landscape equipment and improve the overall appearance of your landscape. Treat your trees to a good mulch two to four inches deep at least once per year immediately after the rainy season has ended. Click here for more information on Proper Mulching Techniques.
Don't over-water your trees. Hopefully you have chosen the Right Tree for the Right Place and your tree is well suited to its environment, including the average amount of natural rainfall that it will get, or its proximity to a body or water. Most trees well suited to their environments will send roots down as deep as necessary to get the proper amount of water. Additional watering will not help them, and it might hurt them by encouraging rot, yellowing, soil erosion and pest infiltration. Plus, it wastes water! Walk your property regularly. Look for consistently soggy areas. If you feel that a tree is getting too much water, consult an arborist for solutions. Sometimes the solutions are equipment related, but sometimes planting smaller bushes or plants around the tree or reducing mulch will help. In the most extreme cases, you may want to relocate a tree. Every tree is different!
Fertilize sparingly, naturally and in a way that is appropriate for the specific tree. Trees are like people in that they need specific amounts of specific nutrients on a consistent basis. Most of the nutrients that trees need come from the air, soil and water, especially if you've chosen the right tree for the right place. These include nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and others. Sometimes trees need a little extra help. In those cases, which nutrients a tree needs depend on its variety, age, condition, location and season. Consult your garden center or an arborist for assistance. Bring photos or your tree and leaf and soil samples if you cannot get help on site. You wi.ll need specific instructions on which products to use, how to apply them, and how often
Plant compatible trees together. Certain trees, especially fruit trees, are natural companions. Planting them in proximity to each other helps with pollination and may encourage the tree to grow and produce better. You'll also want to consider planting other plants which encourage bees, butterflies, birds and other productive pollinators, as these will improve the health of your tree. Again, consult your arborist for information, or log onto Naturescape Broward for suggestions.
Control pests. No one likes to be bitten, and your tree is no exception, Check your trees' leaves and trunk regularly for signs of pests and disease. Powdery white deposits on the leaves, unusual sticky substances, holes and severe discoloration or drooping could all be signs of infestation. Consult and arborist immediately, and check our Integrated Pest Management pages and our GYR Garden Pest Directory for more information.