Properly Caring for Your Tree

Tree Care Tips to Help You Get the Most out of Your Investment

Benefits of a Tree

There are a lot of great benefits to adding a tree or trees to your property. They increase the value of your property. Trees provide shade, which lowers the surrounding air temperature thus conserving energy and lowering your air conditioning bills. Trees help clean the air and cut down on noise pollution by acting as a sound barrier. They also provide privacy and beauty.

How you take care of your tree in its first few years of life will affect its shape, strength, and even its life span. Here are some tips to keep in mind when caring for your trees, so that you can reap all of the benefits of a healthy tree. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Urban Arborist.

Healthy Ash trees that we treated for insects.
The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect that can kill Ash Trees unless properly treated.

Healthy Ash Tree
Healthy Ash Tree

Plant selection

First, you need to choose the right tree for the right location. Is the spot wet or dry, shady or sunny, windy or protected? Consider the size of the tree at its’ expected maturity. Will the space be large enough to accommodate the full-grown tree? This is especially important with evergreens; people have the tendency to plant them too close together. Native trees tend to flourish in their climate, but selective non-native trees can thrive, too. Do your research before investing in plant material. You can save a lot of time, money, and plants when you consult with a certified arborist before embarking on your planting project.


When done properly, mulching may be the single best thing you can do for your trees. Mulch should be evenly distributed to a depth of 2” to 3” and extend to the drip line of the tree. It is important that the mulch does not come in contact with the stem of the tree. Keep the mulch 3” or 4” away from the base of the tree. Mulch is not maintenance free but its benefits certainly make it worth the effort. Weeds will grow and take over if left unattended. Cultivating is strongly recommended before the top dressing of mulch is added to help keep the mulch from clumping. If you start with a 2” or 3” deep layer of mulch, you should not need to re-mulch for at least two years.

Dormant Tree Pruning

Dormant Tree Pruning
Pruning Your Tree Illinois
Tree Pruning


When trees are young, corrective, or directional pruning is advised. With the right tools and a little bit of instruction, most people can handle this type of pruning on their own. If you need to leave the ground to prune the tree it is time to call a professional. As the tree matures, we prune to clean the crown of dead branches and to remove or lighten heavy and/or weak branches to reduce the likelihood of storm damage. This type of pruning should only be performed by experienced professionals.


How you water your lawn is not necessarily how you should water your trees. For most established trees, the equivalent of 1” of rainfall every 7 to 10 days is ideal. When utilizing supplemental watering, take advantage of the natural rainfall and try to water during the morning hours to reduce evaporation and water waste. Too much can be worse than no water, don’t over water. If you have watering concerns—give us a call.

Lawn Care

Proper lawn care leads to proper tree care. Everything applied to your lawn will be absorbed by your trees. Many herbicides are designed to kill broad leaf weeds.  To herbicides, a tree is just a large broad leaf weed.  Some herbicides have been shown to damage valuable trees (dicamba, imprelis).  Be sure that your lawn care provider is not applying something that will hurt your trees. A weed by definition is a plant out of place. As far as the herbicide chemical is concerned, your valued tree is a plant out of place.

Quick release fertilizers and over fertilization can have an adverse impact on your tree.  Keep in mind that the roots of trees extend into the lawn area.

Some fungicides will kill the biological beneficials in the soil your trees rely on. Know what products your lawn care company is applying to your lawn and trees. A lush green lawn and trees do not necessarily go hand and hand.

Need Help Caring for Your Tree(s)? Contact Urban Arborist (857) 821-8733