The nice thing about trees is that they don't require a lot of care. They're big and strong, and they can suck up moisture from far beneath the soil with their deep roots. However, that does not mean that trees are entirely maintenance-free. There are some things you should do (and avoid doing) as a new homeowner to keep your trees healthy and strong.
1. Don't damage the bark with a weed trimmer or lawnmower.
It's a good idea to keep the weeds around your tree trimmed down. This way, they don't trap moisture against the trunk, which could contribute to a fungal disease or insect infestation. What you need to be careful of, though, is trimming too close and damaging the trunk. A laceration in the trunk can make the tree more prone to infection and may also weaken its ability to transport water up to the leaves. Always use hand trimmers to trim directly against the trunk; stay at least 6 inches back with the weed whacker, and turn wide with the lawnmower.
2. Have professionals occasionally trim the tree.
Mature trees do not need frequent trimming, but they should be seen by a tree care company every couple of years. The trimmer can remove any dead branches and any branches that are interfering with each other. This helps keep the tree in good overall health while also helping it maintain a balanced shape. Don't attempt this yourself. Removing the wrong branch or using the wrong equipment could do more harm than good.
3. Apply fertilizer each year.
Every spring, scatter some granulated fertilizer around the drip line of your tree, which is located directly beneath the tree's outer branches. This fertilizer will help boost the tree's growth rate and keep it strong enough to fight off infections. Make sure you are using a fertilizer formulated for trees as these tend to be lower in nitrogen than other formulas.
4. Rake up leaves.
Many people think of raking as something they do for the cosmetic value of their yard, not as something they do for trees. But cleaning up leaves does help keep your tree healthy. Disease-causing pathogens can replicate in the fallen leaves and then infect the tree. With the leaves gone, your tree will be better able to stay healthy.
If you follow the tree care tips above as a new homeowner, you'll have a gorgeous yard that makes the neighbors envious.