Trees are an absolutely marvelous part of your lawn or garden. They provide shade, they reduce your carbon footprint, they exude oxygen, and they just generally make your environment more attractive. Different sorts of trees will have different affects. Some delve deep in the earth with their roots and bring up minerals, some store water, some provide habitat for animals, birds, and beneficial insects.
Check for Bugs
Unfortunately, bugs do not check in with us before moving into our trees, and they are not concerned with whether they are contributing to the health of your tree, or potentially causing its death. Those six (or however many) leggity creatures have only purely personal and selfish goals in their short lives: to eat, to shelter, and to procreate which makes them much like many other living creatures. However, when they do it under the bark of your trees or on the leaves, then that is a completely different story.
One way to curtail the bugs is to encourage creatures, such as birds, who will eat them up. By providing water and nesting areas for birds, you can often hope to gain their assistance. In addition, you gain the ambiance of bird song and flashes of color among your tree branches.
Sometimes that is not enough, and you must take stronger measures. Depending upon the tree, you may be able to find ecologically friendly sprays to discourage the unwanted six leggers and other pests. Check labels carefully to make sure that you are not solving one problem only to cause another.
Trim and Prune
Not all trees require pruning, but most will benefit from having any deadwood cut away. Some types of fruit trees, such as Tahitian Limes, will bear significantly better if the central part of the tree is thinned to allow more light and air to circulate through its leaves. Sometimes it is beneficial to control a tree’s height, such as a mango tree, to make it easier to harvest the delicious fruit.
Remove Parasitic Vines
The idea of Spanish moss or varieties of ivy hanging from a tree might seem romantic, but far too many vines are actually parasites that feed off the tree. When a plant, such as English Ivy, is removed from its proper environment it can too often become a problem. Central United States is currently having a problem with ivy that has escaped from pots and made itself at home in the wild.
Examine soil moisture (add water or drainage as needed)
Established trees are usually self-sustaining, but some types of trees, especially young trees might need to be watered during dry seasons. A drip watering system is usually best because it delivers the water directly to where it is needed. With that said, good drainage is important because tree roots need to breathe. Too much moisture over time can cause rot which will eventually kill the tree. This is especially true for trees that are being grown in containers that have blocked or inadequate drainage.
Test soil for nutrients, call on the experts
If you’ve examined the water level, checked for bugs, removed any sticky-toed parasitic plants, and your tree fails to thrive, you might try checking the soil fertility and ask for help from a tree expert. Sometimes a problem might be obvious, other times it might be something that is hidden in the roots or under the bark. Checking the soil and calling in an arborist might be the answer to saving a valuable tree.
Clean up Fallen Fruit
Cleaning up fallen fruit might seem like a no-brainer, especially if the fruit is something delicious like a mango or refreshing like a lime but things happen. Sometimes you are busy with other things and the fruit gets ahead of you especially if you have a prolific tree. Olive trees are especially prone to dropping their ripe fruits.
One way to solve this is to spread an old sheet or piece of canvas under the tree during fruiting season, making it easy just to bundle it up and removing it from the tree’s vicinity. This eliminated the likelihood of attracting unwanted pests to your property or developing a stinging insect problem. It also keeps from having a multitude of small tree sprouts under the parent tree.
If you have a garden, orchard, or just a shady patch of lawn, you already know that trees can make a lot of work. But you also know that there is nothing like them for helping keep your home cool or refreshing the air.