10 Most Common Tree Care Myths You Should Know

Posted on July 15th, 2015 by Metro Tree]

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When it comes to tree care maintenance, homeowners may be getting their information passed down by generation or from friends and neighbors. And while some of that information may be true, chances are that most of it is missing the mark. That is why it is always a good idea to get your tree care maintenance information from your trusted Houston tree trimming specialists at Metro Tree.

Debunked: Top 10 Most Common Tree Care Myths

1. Tree Roots Extend Far and Deep Underground

It is common for most root systems to extend several feet underground with the majority of the roots being concentrated in the top few inches of soil. The main supporting system can be found near the base of the tree, where is meets the soil. From there it tapers of quite drastically into smaller, more fragile roots. This means protecting the layers of soil near the base of the tree is more important to the tree’s overall health.

2. Using Concrete to Fill Cavities Strengthens Trees

While many homeowners may think that the addition of concrete to large cavities or hollows within a tree can help to make it more structurally sound, this practice can actually do more harm to a tree. In fact, instead of strengthening the tree it can have the reverse effect and stimulate more decay and breakage. Tree care specialists now know that it is better to let the tree heal on its own and use spray insulation to fill holes if necessary.

3. Prune your Trees Anytime you Want to Stimulate Growth

While the process of pruning does in fact result in dense and often vigorous sprout growth, this process consumes a great deal of a tree’s energy. Luckily there are many great benefits of healthy pruning but over-pruning can become a serious problem when it comes to the overall health of your trees. If you are unsure of an appropriate tree pruning schedule for your trees, seek advice from a professional technician before beginning work on the trees located on your property.

4. Topping Trees Makes Them Safer

There are many myths surrounding the practice of topping trees but the only thing Houston residents should remember is that topping trees is extremely damaging to your tree’s health. Topping a tree always results in serious injury to the tree and commonly results in long-term structural issues as well. This practice can also cause decay, disease and rapid re-growth, resulting in the need for constant upkeep.

5. Cutting Close to the Trunk Speeds Healing

Unfortunately, as magical as trees are, they do not have the ability to heal by regenerating lost tissue. When a tree is pruned or punctures it simply covers these “injuries” with brand new layers of wood. Cutting close to the trunk of the tree or worse, puncturing the tree trunk can result in decay and disease. DIYers should be careful to retain the “branch collar” or the slightly raised sections that surround the base of the tree branches when pruning.

6. Stakes Are Necessary for Planting a Tree

While some smaller trees can benefit from the addition of a sturdy stake to keep upright after initial planting, trees that can stand on their own don’t need to be routinely staked. Unnecessary staking is an added step for homeowners that can be avoided and when done improperly, can create new health problems for your trees. Any staking done on your property should be seen as a temporary solution to assist trees while they gain their own strength and they should be removed in a timely manner.

7. Tree Seal Can Prevent Decay

Sometimes, in order to prevent decay, deter insect infestations or cover wounds on trees, homeowners may turn to tree seal or paint to mask unsightly areas. While this process may temporarily cover problem areas it is detrimental to the health of your trees. Paints, tar, shellac and other sealants do not prevent disease or decay and in some cases, may actually cause more harm to your trees health. It is recommended that homeowners leave wounds open to allow the tree to heal naturally.

8. Adding Topsoil is Good for Trees

You may think that the occasional addition of a quality topsoil near the base of your tree is a good way to keep it healthy and strong. But this process can have the opposite effect on your trees. It is very important the the base of your trees stays at an appropriate depth in relation to the soil grade surrounding it. Too much soil, constant grade changes and excessive cultivation can result in root loss and other, more serious consequences.

9. Trees Thrive in Nature, So They Don’t Need Regular Maintenance

While it is true that most trees do just fine out in the forest, urban trees are not living under those same conditions. The trees on your property have to deal with a great deal of negative influences to their health including pollution, confined spaces, concrete, asphalt, soil compaction and smaller rooting areas. The loss of even a single tree can also have a devastating impact on the overall landscape surrounding your home.

10. This Company Advertised as “Experts”, So They Must Be!

There are no regulations set in place for people placing ads in the Yellow Pages, on the Internet or even in your local classifieds. The only way to be sure that you are working with a team of certified tree experts is to do your homework. Look for certified Arborists and ask for references before you hire a technician. It is also important for homeowners to ask to see proof of insurance certificates and credentials before agreeing to any type of contract with a tree maintenance service.

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