3 Most Common & Potentially Harmful Tree Care Myths

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Whether you planted them yourself, or were lucky enough to find them on a property you purchased, the trees in your yard are a treasure you want to protect. Unfortunately, the vast majority of homeowners don't really know how to properly care for their trees, and often rely on popular myths and misconceptions they learned from friends and neighbors. Help ensure your trees receive the care they require to thrive by learning about a few of the most common myths:

All Trees Have Deep Root Systems

If you have massive trees in your yard, you might assume that they have deep root systems that require deep waterings. However, for tree roots to grow deep into the ground, the soil must be loose, feature good drainage and provide the system with enough oxygen and water to thrive.

There are several species of trees that feature a taproot, which is a main root that grows vertically into the ground. However, in most cases, tree roots will actually remain quite shallow, and instead of growing down, the root system will actually grow outward. This is because typically, all the moisture and nutrients the roots require is found in the top layers of the soil.

According to Gardener's Supply Company, the root system found on the majority of mature trees don't grow below a depth of between 12 to 18 inches. To provide your mature trees with an adequate amount of moisture, it's best to water each to a depth of around 10 inches. Watering the tree from the trunk outward toward the edge of the canopy will ensure that the tree's entire root system gets a healthy drink.

You Can Never Overwater a Tree

Keeping your tree's healthy requires providing them with deep waterings every few days or weeks, depending on the species. You want to make sure that the tree gets enough water, so you simply turn on your sprinkler or soaker hose and allow the ground to become significantly saturated. After all, you can't overwater a tree, right?

Unfortunately, this myth is very common and potentially devastating. If you overwater your trees, it can lead to a condition called root rot. When trees are provided with too much water, the roots will begin to decay and rot. This issue is especially common in lawns that feature poor drainage.

To avoid root rot, don't provide your trees with water if there has been sufficient rainfall, or if the ground is saturated to a depth of a few inches.

You Should Always Stake Your Newly-Planted Trees

Another common myth about tree care is that to provide a sapling or young tree with the support it needs to survive, you must always attach the narrow trunk to a stake. Unfortunately, if you stake a young tree that doesn't require the extra support, it can lead to trunk damage, and could prevent the tree and its root system from growing and thriving.

If the young tree features a small, underdeveloped root ball that won't support the trunk, if you live in an area that is prone to adverse weather and heavy winds or if the tree's crown is heavy and the tree is beginning to tip over, it is acceptable to attach the trunk to a stake. However, this should be a temporary arrangement and you should remove the stake once the tree is established and able to easily support itself.

Correctly caring for the young and mature trees on your property is critical. If you aren't sure how to provide the trees with the care they require, or if you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to contact an arborist in your area via resources like http://www.prtree.com.