There’s no doubt people in the Pacific NW loves trees. It’s unreasonable to think the trees on your Seattle or North Bend property will stay healthy and strong without a mature tree care program.
Why mature tree care?
It’s best to think of the trees in your yard as a long-term investment. Healthy trees increase property value, add beauty, purify our air, and help conserve energy by providing shade in the summer and protecting against cold wind in winter.
On the other hand, trees that are not healthy can be a liability and/or hazardous. This is why Eastside Tree Works encourages you to put a tree maintenance program in place to foster overall health and structural integrity.
Effective tree maintenance
- Regular inspections w/follow-up care
- Fertilization/soil management
Yearly tree inspections
It’s a good idea to inspect mature trees at least once a year to catch any changes early. Disease, insect infestations or environmental problems only worsen the longer they go unchecked.
4 areas of tree vitality
- New leaf or bud formation
- Leaf size
- Twig growth
- Absence of crown dieback
Growth reduction is good sign that a tree has declining health. Certified arborists can look at twig growth from past years to determine whether there is a decrease in the tree’s typical growth pattern.
Other signs of poor health are trunk decay, crown dieback or both. Loose bark, deformed growth and mushrooms are signs of stem decay. If your tree has any of these symptoms, its health may have been declining for several years.
If you find any insect activity or spotted, deformed, discolored or dead leaves/twigs, you should make a note of them. We also recommend calling a certified arborist as they can give you advice on possible treatments.
Mulching helps trees by reducing environmental stress. How? It moderates the root environment (soil has fewer temperature and moisture extremes that non-mulched areas).
It also keeps grass and weeds at bay while preventing mechanical damage from lawn equipment by keeping it away from the tree’s base. The best mulches are made from plant matter (shredded leaves, pine straw, peat moss or composted wood chips) as they add nutrients to the soil as they decompose, which helps the soil biology.
Are you mulching correctly?
Mulch should be 2-4 inches deep and cover as much of the root system as possible but be careful it doesn’t cover the trunk of the tree. A 1-2” wide mulch-free area around the entire trunk is about right so you don’t end up with overly moist bark conditions.
Trees in urban environments (like your yard) often have soil that lack nutrients, has pH levels that are too high/low, improper drainage or pore space (air and water space). These are needed for growth and development.
Fertilization can correct soil deficiencies while soil amendments (lime, sulfur, even some mulches) can moderate pH levels. (Improper pH levels prevent trees and plants from absorbing the nutrients they need thereby causing stress).
Drainage systems or grading can help with saturated soil conditions though you need to be careful if using machinery to do this as the roots can be damaged. Compacted soil is best tilled using compressed air to increase porosity. This is best left to professionals who will likely add soil amendments at the same time to promote growth.
Regular pruning is vital
Pruning is best done on a regular basis to remove dead, diseased, or insect-infested branches. It also helps trees grow structurally strong and reduces risk of breakage that can cause damage.
It’s best to have professionals do any pruning as removing branches creates a lasting wound. When done incorrectly, the wounds don’t heal as fast and are an invitation for insects and disease.
When dealing with larger trees or those in close quarters to buildings, power lines, etc., special equipment, training and experience is needed to safety trim them. Eastside Tree Works employees (many who are ISA Certified Arborists) are skilled in using the proper equipment and techniques for pruning all trees.
When is tree removal a good idea?
While we love trees, we also know that sometimes tree removal is the best option. Our Certified Arborists often perform inspections to determine if removal is necessary.
Removals are usually recommended if the tree falls in one of these categories.
- Dead, dying or considered irreparably hazardous.
- Causing an obstruction or crowding/causing harm to other trees that can’t be remedied by pruning.
- Being replaced by a more suitable specimen.
- Needs to be removed to allow for construction.
All these items should be a part of your mature tree care maintenance, which is needed to keep the trees on your Seattle, North Bend or Eastside property healthy and strong for years to come.
Contact Eastside Tree Works for your no-obligation estimate on professional tree services.