Totally Trees: the Essentials of Tree Care

Not everyone plans on growing trees in their garden. You might plant them yourself. But often you end up buying or renting a property that comes complete with trees. You might not be keen on caring for them, but perhaps you enjoy the way they look. Many trees don’t need much maintenance. But there are certain issues to which you might need to pay close attention. You might need to protect your trees from disease. You may need to keep the branches trimmed back or protect a tree’s roots. It’s possible to hire someone to care for your trees, but keen gardeners prefer to try it themselves. However, there can be challenges in caring for trees, due to their size.

Know Your Tree

If you want to care for your trees properly, it’s a good idea to get to know them first. If you plant them yourself, you know what they are. You’ve probably done some research on the care they need to make sure that it’s suitable for your level. However, if you’ve inherited a tree with a new house, you might not even know what it is. Your first job is to identify it so that you know how it grows and what you need to do to look after it. It’s important to be aware of issues such as whether it’s sensitive to the cold or any diseases.

olive-trees - know your tree

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Proper Planting

If you don’t already have a tree, or you want more, you have to get planting. The idea of planting a tree might seem like a daunting prospect. Of course, you’re not going to start off with a huge tree, so it will be manageable. First, you need to choose the type of tree to buy. Many beginner tree growers pick “balled and burlapped” trees, as they’re easy to plant. These trees have soil balls around the roots, making it easier to transplant a tree. However, there are other options to choose from. You can buy trees with bare roots, which will require the roots to be moistened before planting. There are also container-grown trees or trees grown in boxes.

When planting your tree, it’s important to dig a hole that’s wide enough so that the roots can expand. Make sure it’s deep enough too, but don’t make your hole deeper than the roots. You need to ensure that the roots are clean of anything such as burlap, string, or other materials. Once your tree is in place, fill it in with the soil from the hole. You should avoid pressing the soil down with your feet.

Caring for Roots

It can be easy to forget about a tree’s roots, as you often don’t see them. But even though they’re hidden, they’re the most important part of the tree. There are several things you need to do to keep the roots in top condition. Once a year, or perhaps more often, you should loosen the soil around the roots. Do this up to about two or three inches down. Watering the roots regularly will help to keep them healthy, but you should do it too much. If they are either too dry or too wet, it could be unhealthy for the tree. You can check up on the soil around the roots too. Find the line on the ground where water drips from the tree. You should check the soil there to see if it’s moist enough by determining if you can easily form it into a ball.


Trees often need pruning in some way to keep them under control. Sometimes they may only need small twigs snipped off. Other times, you might have to remove whole branches. This could be to shape the tree, keep it under control, or even stop it growing into your neighbor’s property. When it comes to pruning, many people will turn to an arborist like this one to do it safely and keep the tree healthy. You’ll also need the right tools for the job.


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Many people will recommend against using a chainsaw if you’re not an expert. However, you can learn the skills you need so that you can do the job safely. If you visit the site here, you can find out about how to choose a safer electric chainsaw. Of course, you need to make sure you wear the proper protective gear too. But unless you have experience with a chainsaw, don’t attempt to use one to prune your trees.

It’s also important to follow some rules when you prune. There are some ways that you should prune and some things you need to avoid. You shouldn’t remove too many inner branches from a tree, for example. When you set out to prune, you need to have a good reason for doing it. Perhaps you’re removing dead material or thinning the tree to reduce its density.


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Preventing Pests

Many different pests can target your trees, and there are different methods for keeping them away. It’s important to pay attention to what’s in your local area and what sort of trees they like. Pests don’t just include insects but can also be fungi, slugs and snails, and ever larger animals like deer. They aren’t always native to your area and may be invasive species that destroy local wildlife. The best way to protect your trees from pests is to find out which ones could have an effect on them. You can then take the appropriate steps.

Preventing Disease

Sometimes a disease may attach a tree, causing it sickness and even death. As with pests, it’s important to be aware of any diseases that may have had an outbreak in your area. You should also be aware of common diseases and how to spot their symptoms. There’s not much you can do about many diseases, so prevention is the best action to take. For example, good soil drainage helps to prevent Phytophthora root.

There are many issues to consider if you want to keep your trees healthy. Regular maintenance will help them stay strong and grow tall.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my Hints & Tips on Caring for Azaleas and Gardening with Kids.

rachel bustin

*This is a collaborative post

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2 thoughts on “Totally Trees: the Essentials of Tree Care

  1. Great read concerning tree care. I think that most people do not consider the thought that needs to go in planning from planting to maintaining trees. I actually stumbled across your article title “Totally Trees”, which is incidentally our company’s name.

    You are absolutely right about pruning. We have seen many trees take a turn for the worse, due to improper trimming. Again great article!

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