How to Keep Your Trees Healthy Year-Round

September 25, 2017

There’s no better time than right now to enjoy the beauty of trees. Bursting with fall foliage, trees are catching the eye of many folks throughout Chicago. We shouldn’t just appreciate trees during autumn, however. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, they also add significant value to a home. Therefore, we hope that you not only stop to look at the beautiful leaves this fall but also understand that you must be proactive in ensuring the health of your trees. Check out this blog for 10 tips to keep them in good shape year-round.

  1. Don’t try to do too much – This guide from Better Homes & Gardens reminds us that trees can fend for themselves for the most part. Unless they’re dealing with a nasty disease, chances are that they will be capable of healing on their own. So try to take on a “less is more” approach with your trees. Should you go over the top with maintenance, you may actually be doing damage to them.
  2. Watch where you dig – Construction ranks as arguably the biggest killer of mature trees, especially when heavy equipment is involved. Keep in mind that a root system can extend two to three times farther than the branches. With that in mind, heavy equipment operating more than 50 feet away can compact the soil and damage the roots of a mature tree. Though trees can fight off disease better than just about anything, they can’t do much about root damage. Take a moment before your next exterior home improvement to discuss protecting your trees with a local tree care expert. They should be able to assist in marking off areas around trees during construction. Quick tip: Mark off areas at least 10 feet from a tree’s drip line.
  3. Avoid parking under trees – Regardless of why you park under trees, it’s time to find a different parking spot. Over time, the soil becomes compacted and can slowly kill the tree.
  4. Perform yard work carefully – Many homeowners are forced to go around trees when mowing and weed whacking. Do you find yourself nicking the bark on occasion, though? It may not seem like a big deal, but nicking the bark only weakens the tree and makes it more susceptible to disease.
  5. Mulch around the base of your trees – Mulching regularly protects your tree from lawn equipment, suppresses weeds, and keeps moisture in the soil. Consider a 1 to 4-inch layer of wood chips or shredded bark, pine needles, leaves, and other biodegradable mulch. Note that it should start about an inch from the tree’s trunk and extend as far as the drip line.
  6. Be judicious with watering and fertilizing – This ties back in with the first point. If you have a mature tree, hold off on overfertilizing and overwatering. Believe it or not, large trees can be damaged by both. In addition, they can be damaged by lawn and garden herbicide applications. Don’t hesitate to consult a reliable tree company should you have any questions regarding watering/fertilizing your trees.
  7. Be smart with pruning – Far too many homeowners prune for the sake of pruning without knowing the potential damage it can do to their trees. Keep in mind that tree trimming/pruning should be limited to removing dead or damaged branches, as well as water sprouts (the thin, crowded growth on branches).
  8. Be aware of possible diseases – Dutch Elm Disease continues to be one of the most impactful tree diseases in the area. If you suspect one of your trees could be dealing with DED, leave it in the hands of a professional tree service.
  9. Walk your property – Several times a year, take a close look at your trees. Look for insects, dead twigs, mushrooms growing around the base of the tree, and suspicious spots on leaves.
  10. Let your trees do their thing – Trees don’t need nearly the amount of care as our lawns and gardens. So just stand back and enjoy!    


Are you looking for an experienced team of tree pruning professionals? Our tree trimming service can help. Fully licensed, insured and bonded, we’ve been serving Chicago for nearly three decades. Contact Pro Tree Service to request an estimate.

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