How To Keep Your Old Tree In Good Shape

There's nothing quite like an older, mature tree to add beauty to your yard. The winding branches, furrowed bark, and plentiful leaves not only provide shade but ambiance. Once trees are this mature, they have very established root systems and tend to remain pretty healthy on their own. But there are a few tips you will want to follow in order to provide an older tree with good care and prolong its life.

1. Have deadwood removed.

You shouldn't have to prune an older tree annually as you would a young tree, but you should still have a tree care company look it over and remove dead branches every couple of years. Dead branches leech nutrients and water from the rest of the tree, so cutting them away can keep the tree vibrant. Plus, you would not want those old, dead branches to fall off in a storm and hit someone or something.

2. Don't nick the roots.

As trees age, their roots can grow quite large, often popping up over the surface of the soil. Make note of where the tree's exposed roots are, and be careful that you do not nick those roots when mowing the lawn or weed whacking near the tree. Injuries to the roots can interfere with the tree's vascular system, but they can also give fungal pathogens a way into the tree, leading to conditions like root rot and butt rot. These conditions are difficult, if not impossible, to cure.

3. Have the soil tested.

Since the tree has been in the same place for decades, it may have depleted the soil of certain nutrients in that time. The best way to know is to have your tree care company come conduct a soil test. If the soil is low in a nutrient like potassium, nitrogen, or iron, they can fertilize the soil around the tree accordingly to make sure the tree has what it needs.

4. Treat the limbs with respect.

Do not hang anything like a tire swing from the tree's limbs. Do not otherwise strain the limbsin a way that may cause them to crack, since a crack can become infected. If you do think some of the tree's limbs may be under strain due to their weight, your tree care company can brace them with cables to reduce this strain and prevent further damage. It's easier to do this than to try to repair a limb that has already cracked.