December 11, 2023

Attention Homeowners: Dos and Don’ts of Tree Care

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Shelby County is home to a collection of beautiful trees, from sassafras to southern magnolia. Trees can grow without human intervention, but that doesn’t mean our actions don’t affect our trees. We can help or hurt our trees in many ways, and knowing the dos and don’ts of tree care will help us do less of the latter and more of the former.


Use Mulch

Putting mulch around trees is more than an aesthetic choice, especially for young trees. Mulch helps your trees get the most out of their water by keeping the water from evaporating and allowing it to soak more fully into the ground. At the same time, it chokes out weeds that may be competing for water, such as nutsedge or fireweed.

Prune Trees in the Winter

Pruning is often necessary for the well-being of the tree and the surrounding areas, such as when a tree’s branches are too close to your house. However, pruning can leave a tree vulnerable to beetles, which can wreak havoc on a tree’s health. To keep the pests at bay, prune a tree between late fall and early spring. This is when beetles tend to be dormant.


Overwater Trees

Because trees require so much more water than other plants, it’s hard to imagine that you can overwater a tree. However, too much water can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Wilting
  • Withering new growth
  • Strange odors
  • Brittle or yellowing leaves
  • Constant wetness in the area around the tree

An easy trick to check if you need to water a tree is to stick a screwdriver in the ground at the base of the tree. If you’re having trouble doing it, then the ground is dry, and the tree likely needs more water. If not, leave it be.

DIY Tree Care

Even the most experienced gardeners should think twice before trying to prune their own trees. Trees are complex—far more so than shrubs or bushes—and pruning them in the wrong place can prove disastrous. Not to mention, pruning is a job that can prove dangerous for you and your property. It’s best to bring in an expert before getting out the shears.

Mother Nature knows how to take care of her trees. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lend her a helping hand. By knowing the dos and don’ts of tree care, your trees won’t just grow—they’ll thrive.

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