Top Three Commercial Property Tree CARE Mistakes
Planting several trees and shrubs on your commercial property can create a beautiful look and pleasing atmosphere. However, there are several necessary tasks that you need to be aware of to avoid incorrect landscaping techniques. You don’t want dead or lackluster plants on your property. Keep them looking their best by following proper measures and hiring commercial tree landscaping professionals. Here are the top three commercial property tree mistakes.
What Are Common Commercial Property Tree Care Mistakes?
1. Inadequate Pruning
Pruning trees is crucial for their growth. It improves their appearance and keeps your customers and property safe by trimming branches that can fall onto the property. However, you need to balance your pruning to ensure your trees stay healthy. Too much trimming causes permanent tree injuries, potentially leading to deadwood. On the flip side, pruning too little keeps the tree from getting the sun exposure it needs to grow.
Improperly trimmed trees can threaten the gutters on your commercial property. Check out this video from Quick Cuts:
Trim a maximum of 25% of a tree’s growth is a good guideline and will help you avoid damaging a tree so badly it can’t recover. If a tree loses too many live branches, you’ll see it wither quicker than normal. You’ll also want to be careful how and which branches you prune. Here are a few tips since pruning can be a bit complex.
Tips for Pruning Trees
- There are many benefits to winter pruning. Winter is the dormant season for most trees and is an excellent time to prune. Not only will you stress the tree less, but it can also be easier for you to see the branch structure. You’ll also be less prone to spreading damaging pathogens. Trees also heal faster when you trim them before spring buds break.
- Avoid pruning in the fall. Pruning cuts can stimulate new growth. If you do this in the fall, those new pieces will just die when the temperatures drop to freezing. Trees minimize their energy production as it grows colder. That means they’ll use their spring reserve to grow new pieces if you trim them in autumn. Dieback due to a freeze means that the tree wasted energy on this growth.
- Don’t cut off leaf and flower buds. Fall pruning can remove the leaf and flower buds a tree already has set for growth during the summer. These buds stay dormant through the winter and bloom in the coming spring. If you trim these dormant buds, you risk losing springtime flowers. Then, your cuts might force the tree to use more energy to grow replacement foliage. For example, you should prune rhododendrons and conifers in late summer before setting buds arrive. You’ll get the same lack of blossoms if you prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs in late winter or early spring. Instead, it would be best if you waited to prune them until after they’ve bloomed.
- Don’t prune when trees are vulnerable to pests and disease. Most importantly, if you do make pruning cuts at the wrong time, even good cuts that avoid common mistakes we’ll mention below, you could risk leaving your trees susceptible to airborne or insect-based diseases. To prevent the spread of these fatal tree diseases, don’t prune during the warmer season when beetles are active.
MAKE PRUNING CUTS CORRECTLY
NO FLUSH CUTS
The flush cut is one of the most common pruning mistakes. A flush cut is when you cut a branch off right up against the bark of the tree trunk or a larger branch it’s attached to.
While that might not seem like a concern, and it might even look nice to you, a flush cut eliminates the branch collar. The branch collar is a tissue area the tree needs to create a seal over the spot where you cut. Essentially, you’re keeping the tree from scabbing over a wound. And by doing so, a flush cut leaves an opportunity for pests and pathogens to get into the tree to damage or potentially kill it.
For more information on Flush Cuts, check out this video from a professional arborist discussing Flush Cuts, what they are and why it is important to avoid them.
How to avoid a flush cut: Look for the branch collar. It’s a larger area around the branch’s base. Once you find it, cut just above it. When you prune here, it stimulates the branch collar tissue to grow over and seal the cut.
NO STUB CUTS
Stub cuts are the opposite of flush cuts. With a stub cut, you’ve left a protruding branch stub that’s too long for the branch collar to seal over.
A rule to avoid stub cuts: If you can hang a hat on what you have leftover, you’ve made the cut too long.
For an example of stub cuts and how they look over time, here’s a great video from Daniel Murphy.
NO LION TAILING
Another common mistake is “lion tailing.” Lion tailing removes interior branches and keeps leaves and growth only at the branch ends. We don’t suggest doing this because it:
- Removes foliage that the tree requires for photosynthesis.
- Damages the tree structure because it redistributes weight to the ends of branches.
- Leaves the tree crown open to wind damage and scalding from the sun.
- Increases the tree’s stress response, creating growth sprouts or watersprouts along the trunk and branches. These reaction sprouts mean you’ve over-pruned. The tree is rapidly growing pieces to fill in the missing foliage and provide more areas for photosynthesis.
NO HEADING CUTS
Heading cuts, especially on large branches, damage the tree’s structure and aren’t aesthetically pleasing. A heading cut severs the branch end at a haphazard point. It can also be right at a branch junction, leaving only a small side branch growing in another direction.
Suppose you make a pruning cut wherever you want on a branch. In that case, it encourages the growth of several small branches near the wound that won’t be firmly attached and don’t follow natural branch growth. Leaving only a small branch at the end doesn’t look right. What’s more, it risks the small branch growing from an unstable branch stub.
Heading cuts generally don’t work out well. The plethora of thin branches that grow from the cut branches not only look off, but those branches are also prone to breaking off. They’ll also probably need more frequent pruning to keep them regulated.
There are a handful of situations where heading cuts are the best choice. Still, your best bet is to leave that decision up to a certified tree landscaper who’ll know what they’re doing.
2. Too Much Mulch
Mulch can be more visually appealing on commercial properties and offers nutrients to plants. However, using too much mulch harms the health of your trees and plants by hindering oxygen uptake. Too much mulch means air can’t get to the roots.
Mulch also retains significant moisture, so using too much can lead to mold growth and attract pests who are looking for water. This problem can cause damage to your tree’s trunk as mold builds and insects invest it. It can disrupt tree growth quite a bit if applied hastily or excessively. Less is more. You’d be better off using a moderate amount and erring on the side of not much.
3. Poor Irrigation
Many commercial properties have automatic irrigation systems, making watering convenient and easy to set up. However, you need to be careful with the setting and take different weather conditions and seasons into account. Otherwise, you risk poor tree health. For instance, trees need less water during rainy periods and more when it’s especially hot.
When watering isn’t balanced, your tree’s photosynthesis suffers, leaving the plants prone to diseases. Look at weather forecasts and the overall condition of your plants and trees to adjust your irrigation schedule accordingly.
While people perform landscape maintenance, trees can also suffer because of the heavy machinery. String trimmers, more commonly referred to as weed whackers, and lawnmowers used during the warmer months can strike or injure trees. Frequently, they cut away at tree bark while weeding near the base, damaging bark that could even prove fatal for tree growth. Bark is essential for soaking up necessary nutrients and water, so harming it means the trees can’t take in those essentials. This is where mulch is actually beneficial, as are small fences.
Expert Tree Care Services for Commercial Properties
Mayer Tree Service has the knowledge and proficiency necessary to help commercial property owners/managers maintain the health and appeal of the trees on their grounds throughout the calendar year. Trust us with your range of commercial properties. We can offer:
- Service for office buildings, industrial complexes, shopping centers, apartments, condos, and municipal or recreational facilities
- Qualified arborists who are trained with the necessary skills and experience to provide a wide range of tree care services
- Spur-free pruning, cabling, and bracing
- Planting/transplanting trees
- Stump removal
- Soil aeration
- Hedge trimming
- Shrub care
- Diagnosis and treatment of disease
- Quick, efficient tree care with minimal disruption to tenants, client traffic, and daily operations
To avoid harmful and costly tree care mistakes on your commercial property, call our qualified specialists, or contact us to schedule a free property review.