How to best care for your trees

When landscaping your yard, or planning a beautiful backyard garden, you’ll more than likely want to add trees for one reason or another. Trees can offer shade to your home, and other plants, or simply create an appealing aspect to your home and garden. Now that you’ve gone to your local gardening center or nursery and found the trees you like best, you’re probably looking for ways to make sure they’re properly taken care of, so they can be a part of your home for years to come. I reached out to one of my friends who owns a tree service in San Antonio to get some information from an expert.

No matter which tree you bring home, there are fundamental steps you must take in order to best care for it, so it continues to grow tall and healthy.

Once you’ve decided on the best place to plant your tree, you want to take some things into consideration. First, you want to make sure you have enough space for the roots to spread out. The tree you brought home more than likely came with a burlap covering for the roots, but they won’t stay that way for long, once they’re in the ground. A hole that is just about three times as wide as the compacted roots will suffice, so make sure you have plenty of space for your tree to spread out. If you live in a particularly windy area, or the land isn’t flat, you’ll need to stake your tree for the first one or two years. This ensures the tree has a strong foundation when the stakes are removed. Not all trees need to be staked, so check with your garden center or nursery for advice on whether or not your tree will need it. Otherwise, make sure your stake material is flexible, so the tree can experience natural movements, and it won’t cut into the tree.

A new tree will need lots of water, and protection as well. Animals may try to make a home inside of it, while harsh weather conditions can weaken the trunk. An easy way to protect your tree is to wrap it loosely in breathable fabric, with burlap being the most cost effective material. To make sure your tree is taking in as much water as possible during its first couple of years, place mulch around the trunk to keep the soil moist. Take care not to overwater your tree, if the soil around the tree is moist, it doesn’t need to be watered again.

Finally, don’t forget about the importance of pruning your tree, throughout its life. The most popular time to prune is in the winter, so dead branches, or those that are creating a hazard, can be removed easily. Pruning in the winter also allows new growth in the spring, especially in flowering trees. When pruning in the warmer months, take care to notice where branches are hanging too low, or where branches are growing where you don’t want them to, such as directly over your neighbor’s new car.

Every tree is different, as are the climates they grow in. You want to be sure the tree you choose for your yard or garden fits with the overall look, and your lifestyle. If you live in an area with infrequent rain, or with drought conditions, you don’t want to purchase a tree that needs a lot of watering. Ask your local nursery or gardening center what trees are most popular in your area, there’s likely a good reason why. A tree may look gorgeous in a gardening magazine, but if it doesn’t fare well in your area, or it needs more upkeep than you can give it, it’ll end up being much more of a hassle than anything else. Taking care of your trees is essential to maintaining the beauty of your yard, garden, and ultimately your home, so be sure to keep these tips in mind when planning your landscape.