Trees are a huge asset in any garden, adding movement, structure, height, and aiding wildlife. However, trees can also cause a number of problems, none more so than when a tree is protected by a preservation order that makes it more difficult to prune or remove them. It is important to Manage trees for sustained growth, overall tree health, and for avoiding problems caused by overhanging branches etc.
Young tree care, the first 12 months
If you have recently planted young trees then there are a number of steps you can take to manage their health and growth in the first 12 months. The importance of watering should not be underestimated, with regular watering keeping trees healthy and stress-free, but avoid overwatering them so they don’t become too reliant on you.
Weed control and pruning
In order to avoid weed growth at the base of your tree, it is advisable to leave a circle of at least 1.5 metres in diameter clear of weeds or add mulch which helps prevent weed growth and add nutrients. Do avoid using a strimmer to clear weeds from the base of the tree as these typically damage the bark and could kill the tree.
Pruning should commence fairly early and preferably in the winter months, and you should use secateurs to shape the tree and remove the lower limbs to help keep a clean trunk.
Older trees need just as much if not more managing, especially if their growth is interfering with nearby structures such as fences, walls, and power lines. Regular pruning can help prevent these problems from occurring, but planting trees in space away from nearby structures will give you fewer problems in the future.
Problems to avoid
Many people make the mistake of giving their trees a trim all over but without pruning the side branches, which can result in regrowth that appears in tufts and is unsightly spoiling the shape of the tree. Plus, if too much pruning is carried out in one year, it can cause vigorous growth, especially in apple trees.
If you are unsure whether your tree needs to be drastically cut back or even removed, then it is best to consult a professional tree surgeon who will be able to advise you on the best course of action.