Ten Essential Tree Care Tips - Keep Your Tree Healthy

10 Ways to Growing a Healthy Tree

There are certain things a tree owner must know to keep trees healthy and in the very best condition. Start by taking my tree wellness quiz and don't worry about your score. Learn from the quiz. Next, read the other tree care essentials for a basic overview of keeping a tree healthy over its natural and predicted biological life span.

Tree Wellness Quiz

Tree Hugger
Tree Hugger. Mike Powell, Getty Images
Take this tree wellness quiz and see just how prepared you are to successfully raise a healthy tree. These questions take you through the first complicated year of a tree's life. In that first year it is essential you do the correct things help your tree grow and thrive.

Limit Staking Your Tree

Tree Over-staked. Steve Nix
Tree staking is never done with the intention of harming a tree. Staking is usually done with love and with a desire to promote root and trunk growth and protect a young tree from harm. What some tree planters do not understand is, rather than helping a tree develop root and trunk growth, improper tree staking replaces a supportive trunk and root system with an artificial support that causes the tree to put its resources into growing taller but not growing wider.

Transplant Your Tree

Large Tree Transplant
Large Tree Transplant. TAMU Photo

Tree owners often need to move or transplant trees from a nursery or within the yard. Yard trees may have been planted too thickly or threaten to out-grow available space. Size is a critical factor in transplanting. The larger a tree, the more difficult it is to transplant.

Protect a Tree's CRZ

Critical Root Zone
Critical Root Zone. Athens-Clarke County Community Tree Program, Georgia
Before starting a mulching project, become familiar the the critical root zone (CRZ) or tree protection zone. This zone is generally defined as the area under a tree and out to its dripline. Improving conditions in this protection zone will also result in major health benefits to a tree.

Mulch Your Tree

Mulching is the most beneficial thing a home owner can do for the health of a young tree. Mulches are materials placed on the soil surface to improve soil structure, oxygen levels, temperature and moisture availability. Properly applied, mulch can give landscapes a handsome, well-groomed appearance.

Fertilize Your Tree

bare-root seedling
seedling. USFS
Ideally, growing trees should be fertilized throughout the year. The greatest amounts should be applied during the early spring and summer months. Several light applications a year are preferred as the tree gets older.

Prune Your Tree

Pruning - Good Bad Ugly. USFS
Pruning is essential in developing a tree with a strong structure and desirable form. Here are several methods showing you how to prune your trees.

Storm Proof Your Tree

Tornado Tree Damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Steve Nix
A tree is never in greater danger than during a storm. That can mean a threat from pounding rain and hail, from the fury of the wind, from the scorch of lightning or the weight of ice on branches and leaves. You may also have to remove a tree that endangers life and property during or after a storm. Learn how here.

Prevent Ice and Snow Damage to Trees

Brittle tree species normally take the brunt of heavy icing after a winter storm. Many of the elms, most true poplars, silver maples, birches, willows and hack-berries are tree species that simply can't handle the weight of the ice slurry coating limbs. Learn how to select and manage trees to withstand ice and snow.

Winterize Your Tree

Dawn Redwood in Snow. Tie Guy II - Flickr Image
Trees in fall are beginnng their dormant phase. Trees may seem to be inactive but the fact is they need to be winterized - protected and cared for to remain healthy, free from diseases and insects. Here is how you winterize your trees.