When it comes to pruning your trees, being cautious is the key to success. Most homeowners know it’s important to prune their trees, but few realize the necessity of proper technique. “Pruning is an essential part of maintaining a healthy tree, but if it’s done improperly, it can critically damage the tree and even lead to its demise,” says Javad Trew, owner of Trew Tree Experts, Inc. in Santa Rosa. “Pruning should always be done to industry standards, which is why you shouldn’t attempt to do it on your own without first learning the correct methods.”
Additionally, Mr. Trew says pruning is best performed with specific objectives in mind. “Before pruning a tree, you should know what you want to accomplish. Do you want more shade? Do you want to let in more sun or block the wind? That being said, even if your objective is to enhance your landscape, pruning should always center on preserving the health of the tree. When I prune a tree, I implement techniques like windsail reduction, which allows wind to pass more efficiently through the tree’s canopy and reduces stress on its roots and trunk.”
During a drought, take proactive steps to protect your trees from insect infestation.
While the current California drought brings concerns like water conservation and fire prevention, another issue to consider when it comes to trees is insect infestation. “When the weather is dry, beetles tend to be more of a problem, which is why a lot of California pines and firs are having issues right now,” explains Mr. Trew. “As the drought continues, it’s important for property owners to take preventative measures to maintain and protect their trees.”
As Mr. Trew explains, a tree’s susceptibility to insect infestation depends largely on its health. “A healthy tree has defense mechanisms that protect it from insect infestation, which is why beetles tend to go for trees that are already ailing,” he says. “For example, beetles usually won’t attack a healthy birch tree because they can’t sense it. However, when that tree goes into a state of stress due to drought, the cambium layer between the inner wood and the bark begins to separate, which releases an odor that the beetles pick up on and follow to the tree.”
While being proactive about tree health will minimize the threat of insect infestation, Mr. Trew says remedial measures after the fact can be just as important. “Even after the beetles have begun their attack, a tree can typically be saved if the issue is caught in a timely manner. If it’s early enough, spraying the tree will usually suffice, but if you procrastinate, you may have to remove large sections of the tree in order to save it. These beetles work quickly, so you really have to jump on it.”
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