Answers to commonly asked Tree Problem questions
While trees are very familiar to all of us, when it comes to the care of trees, most of us know very little.
Tree Pruning and Deadwooding
Tips for pruning trees are a necessity for most urban tree care queries: when to prune trees, how to prune trees and when you need to call a reliable tree care company.
Often overlooked is that you require good quality, sharp tools when tackling pruning, otherwise you risk damaging your tree and, in the worst case scenario, it may not recover.
When pruning to encourage new growth to shape or revitalise your tree, pruning should be done at the time when the tree is ready for a growth period – and that usually means early spring. When pruning to restrict growth (like pruning a leylandii hedge), it is best done just after the main seasonal growth surge has ended – and that usually means summer. When pruning spring flowering trees, prune just after flowering. When pruning autumn flowering trees, prune in early springtime.
What is deadwooding? It is the removal of any dead timbers, twigs and branches, damaged or diseased wood. When is best to remove deadwood from trees? Anytime of year, but easiest in the dormant period because, without leaves, you can see better what you are pruning!
How to prune trees is essential knowledge. Using a sharp bladed tool, cut at a 20o – 45o angle to the horizontal. The cut should be half a fingers’ width beyond a bud. Choose a healthy looking bud which is facing the direction you want your tree to grow, usually upwards and outwards.
Remember Health and Safety when cutting trees! If you are in any doubt about your ability to carry out tree pruning safely, then call a professional arborist.
Do trees need to be watered? Not usually, but there are exceptions.
Young trees need to be watered. Recently planted trees need to be watered. To encourage deep root growth, ideally you want to ensure your water reaches a reasonable depth – approximately to the depth of the hole it was planted in. One way of doing this is to install a short length of drainpipe vertically into the ground at the time of tree planting. The water can be channelled to the lower soil levels via this pipe and the pipe removed when the tree is properly established, usually about two years.
Adult trees rarely require water but in times of serious drought, it would help your tree to provide water.
Tree pests and diseases
We take our trees so much for granted that we often don’t spot early indications of ill-health in trees. It’s usually only when the problem is well advanced and the timber badly affected that we become aware. So, as a preventative measure, check your trees regularly.
The DEFRA website (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) gives good information on most tree pests and tree diseases. Note that some pests and diseases are a legally notifiable (quarantine) situation. A fully trained and qualified tree surgeon is best consulted in this circumstance.