How do you take care of a mature tree? And why should you go to all that effort?
Below, Barone’s Tree Pros LLC, Brandon’s reliable tree service, discusses mature tree care tips so that you can maximize tree health for all.
How Old Does a Tree Have To Be To Classify as Mature?
When it comes to age, the tree species matters. For example, sequoias can live for millennia and are still ‘young’ after a century. By contrast, at that age, a pine tree may be nearing the end of its lifespan.
Arborists take great care surrounding the health of older trees because these well-established trees provide significant environmental benefits, such as:
- Durability. The bigger the tree, the more extensive its root system will be to handle stormwater and prevent erosion.
- Photosynthesis. A mature tree converts more carbon dioxide into oxygen than a sapling.
- Shade. A big tree is aesthetically pleasing, provides ample shade, and shelters wildlife.
- Experience. Older trees have already overcome many environmental stressors and adapted to local conditions efficiently.
One final benefit involves the value of older trees to a property owner wanting to sell. A study on The Impact of Mature Trees on House Values and on Residential Location Choices in Quebec City (Thériault et al., 2002) showed that the presence of an established tree in the yard was highly attractive to a family with or without children and increased the property value.
Tips for Caring for a Mature Tree
Older trees are fairly resilient and self-reliant, but you can lengthen their lifespan by tweaking their living conditions as follows:
- Cut the competition for resources. Remove grass and weeds in the area under the canopy.
- Mulch. Mulching smothers grass and weeds under the tree without using pesticides. It also retains moisture to reduce your tree’s watering needs and helps soil health.
- Test the soil. Regular soil testing monitors optimal nutrients and pH levels so that trees can thrive. Arborists can then temper fertilizer and compost or inject lacking nutrients directly.
- Be careful. Another reason to remove grass around the trunk is that activities like mowing can scar the bark or cut the trunk. Any gashes leave the tree vulnerable to disease and pest infestations, so it is best to avoid them.
A Final Word on a Mature Tree’s Transplanting and Relocation
When it comes to older tree specimens, annually trimming the tree significantly does wonders for its overall health. Pruning considerations include removing dead wood and improving the air circulation within the canopy during the dormant season. It’s best not to remove new wood, as older trees don’t sprout much.
You’ll also need to rethink the tree’s watering needs as it ages. Large structures need more water, though the roots should find what they need under normal conditions. Still, a soaker hose will supplement the supply and avoid wetting the trunk and leaves, which might increase the risk of mildew and other diseases.