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Go–To Tree Care Tips For New Homeowners With A Backyard
For those homeowners who have their first backyard, the extra space can feel liberating. The truth is that many potential home buyers include a backyard on their list of must-have features in a home. However, buying a home with a backyard also comes with a flip side: maintenance. Having a backyard the family can enjoy means you get more space and even take up gardening, which is a rising pastime amongst American households. But for a gardening novice, inheriting a backyard and practicing tree care can seem like a minefield. Whether it knows when to prune your trees or recognize the signs of a diseased tree in your garden, here are a few simple tips to help beginners to tree care manage their own backyard.
Do You Need To Transplant Your Tree?
If you have inherited trees with your property and you’ve noticed a few telltale signs, then it may be time to think about moving them to a better place – i.e., transplanting your tree. If you find that as the tree grows, its branches are grazing your roof or shingles, it could end up damaging your home. Another sign you need to transplant a tree is if your roof and gutters are being filled with leaves and debris regularly. If it is an established or older tree, the process can be a bit tricky. Before moving it, it is recommended that you dig a hole in the new location about three times the width and depth of the tree’s root ball.
You can also add 2-3 inches of mulch to ensure the soil remains moist during the weeks after transplanting, but be careful that it does not come into contact with the trunk of the tree. Mulch can often damage trees if allowed to touch since roots can grow upwards into the mulch, creating stem girdling roots. A 12-18 inch space between the mulch and tree is recommended.
Get To Know The Signs Of A Diseased Or Dying Tree
To maximize the aesthetic appeal of your back garden, you should remove any diseased or dying trees as soon as possible. In addition to being unsightly, decaying trees can prove to be hazardous to you, your loved ones, or your guests while they’re in the backyard. Many arborists also recommend removing trees near the end of their lives since they become more susceptible to being knocked over by wind or rainstorms.
A tree may be decaying; vertical cracks on the tree trunk or branches and rotting from wood-boring pests are a good start. You may also want to look for discolored leaves or a leaning tree with exposed roots around its base. As the property owner, you should also be mindful of individual state tree removal and permit laws. For instance, the city of Marietta, Georgia, requires multifamily and commercial properties to notify the state of their tree removal intent and secure a permit under Marietta’s tree protection ordinance provisions. However, single-family homeowners in Marietta do not need to secure a permit and could be held liable for any damage caused by a diseased or dying tree falling. Similarly, in Atlanta, Georgia, residential homeowners require a permit if they wish to remove any hardwood tree at least 6 inches in diameter or pine 12 inches in diameter.
Know When And How To Prune Your Tree
According to Better Homes and Gardens, the best time to prune a tree is after the leaves have fallen. The American Association of Arborists recommends waiting until the tree enters dormancy, particularly fruit trees. Pruning is also known as the process of removing overgrown or dead branches. Sometimes, by pruning diseased branches, you can prevent the decay from spreading to the rest of the tree.
If you are pruning for clearance (reducing the tree’s spread or height), it should be done before the spring growth flush and ideally between March and February. This gives you a better view of the branches without the onset of new foliage. Lastly, the three-step cutting method is often best when pruning longer branches.
Whether you are looking to beautify your current backyard or give it a fresh, new look, knowing the basics of tree care is a great skill to have. By knowing how to take care of any trees in your new backyard, you can keep them – and your new home – looking healthy, beautiful, and inviting.