The Houston area is home to a vast array of trees that offer residential and commercial properties beauty, shade and economic value. While many plants and flowers in the area need frequent maintenance and upkeep, trees have an easier time establishing their roots and growing well with far less maintenance for property owners. For tree owners interested in protecting and promoting the growth, health and value of their trees for generations to come, there are a few important tips to remember.
First, it is important to be cautious around trees because of their delicate root system, especially during residential and commercial construction projects. Too often people purchase land with healthy, mature shade trees and begin constructing a home or office, only to discover later that their trees have been damaged by construction activity. Damage to the tree's root system hinders its ability to sustain long-term growth because of the decrease in nutrient absorption. Tree roots are easily damaged by construction vehicles such as tractors and bulldozers, and can also be harmed by toxic chemicals spilled out during the construction process. There can also be significant root damage caused by pool installation, the addition of concrete walkways near trees, and construction of ornamental water features.
Second, it's important to remember to provide a good layer of healthy, organic mulch for shade trees. A tree needs no more than 2-4 inches of organic mulch surrounding the tree base, and it should extend to the tree's drip line, which is the farthest point of the tree's canopy. Applying organic mulch helps trees retain moisture, which is critical during times of drought, and also helps reduce the appearance and growth of invasive weeds.
Finally, one of the best care tips a tree owner can remember is that less is more. Some of the largest, oldest and most beautiful shade trees in the Houston area have grown and thrived with minimal maintenance. Trees need occasional pruning and routine maintenance like mulching and watering, but constantly pruning and manipulating tree growth can hinder long-term health and make it more vulnerable to tree diseases and pest invasions.