Tree Care Tips
Species Selection: The native soils are alkaline (around 8.2 pH), which is why when you go into unmanaged mountain space the variety of tree species are fewer. Most trees prefer soil around 6.0 to 7.0 pH, as nutrient uptake is restricted with higher alkalinity. Try to select trees that are tolerant of high alkalinity, lower temperatures, and that consume less water. These types of trees with survive the best in our region.
Pruning: Hire a tree care company with a certified arborist on staff to care for your trees. Trees are a long-term investment, so it’s important to work with an arborist who understands how one cut might shape the tree 50 years from today.
- Ensure your trees receive regular water. If using timed irrigation, make sure the components are regularly checked for leaks and repaired. Young trees require at least 15-20 gallons of water, per caliper inch, per week to establish themselves. This is easily done with watering every other day or every three days. It’s best to use drip lines around trees wherever possible.
- Pull back grass and rocks from the root zone and use 3-4 inches of mulch instead. Pine needles, wood chips, wood nuggets, etc. will all suffice. Tree roots have fine hairs that reach toward the surface of the soil level to absorb water and nutrients. Manicured grasses have a dense matt of roots that typically reduce the tree’s roots access to oxygen, water, and nutrients. Planting too close to concrete/asphalt and covering the root zone with decorative rock is also not suggested for these same reasons.
- Build small berm or raised garden edging on the downward side of a slope (if the tree is planted on a slope) to help retain water.
Soil Health: Contact a professional to conduct a soil testing to confirm nutrient and pH levels. If your soil is too alkaline or contains excessive nitrogen, you may be able to incorporate a treatment of some kind to repair the issue. Dogs leave behind a lot of nitrogen every time they use outdoor “facilities”. Nitrogen isn’t as concentrated and pH is lower when your dog is drinking healthy amounts of water. They may urinate more, but the overall effect will be less damaging. So please be sure to pick up after your pet!