3 Myths About Tree Care You Ought to Know

By: albertaarb - March 23, 2015

3 Myths About Tree Care You Ought to Know

Although most people with trees on their property might not admit it, tree maintenance is far more complicated than meets the eye.  So much so that people often ignore tending their trees until something goes wrong and by the time they need an arborist, the damage is severe.

For those of us seeking how to deal with the complexities of tree care, there’s a plethora of myths and misconceptions that muddle the subject. We’ll separate fact from fiction and dispel 3 common tree care myths.

Myth #1:  Cut Off a Branch in Line with the Stem

Branch removal is an unfortunate reality that most people with trees will have to face if they want to avoid the dangers of a falling limb.  It’s a preventative measure in most cases, but the execution is much harder than it seems.

Perhaps because they’re worried about the tree’s health, people have spread a bunch of myths about how one should remove the branch.  Mainly that the final cut should be in line with the stem so the tree heals better.

Here’s the problem:  branch collar.

A branch collar is the visible part of a joint that attaches the limb to the main body.  Like the name suggests, it looks like a collar and is thicker in appearance than the branch itself.

Get rid of this and you’ll have a larger wound.  Larger wounds are worse wounds and - you guessed it - take longer to heal.  If your cut is flush, you’ll risk killing important branch tissue and increase the chance of spreading decay.

If you’re going to remove the branch, look for the branch collar and leave it untouched.

Myth #2:  Wrap a Trunk with Tree Wrap

Looking for advice on how to plant a tree and keep it healthy leads you to a lot of misconceptions and bad ideas.  One of them that seems good on the surface is wrapping the trunk with tree wrap.

This is most commonly done for two reasons:  to ward off insects and to protect against sunscald.

Sunscald or southwest injury occurs during winter, when the southwest side of the tree is exposed to such high temperatures from the sun, so the cells ‘wake up’.  When cold temperatures arrive and nightfall comes, cells haven’t had enough time to shut down, resulting in cells dying from the cold.  Damage to the bark and deep fissures can form including open cracks.  These are more prone to infection and can even encourage parasites or other decay organisms.

So tree wrap would avoid this right?  Not necessarily.  Studies have shown that some insects actually like to burrow beneath the tree wrap.  Worse, the wrap can sometimes make the temperature changes worse, resulting in deeper damage.

If you’re planting, avoid tree wrap.

Myth #3:  New Trees Need Heavy Pruning

There’s a misconception that because a new tree has lost a lot of its roots, it should be pruned significantly.

Here’s the problem, trees need a full crown to properly trigger root growth.  While pruning the top will slow down and prevent some water from evaporating from the leaves, it won’t help generate the hormones that roots need.

Your tree will take and spread roots if it’s not pruned.  If you need to, stick to getting rid of dead branches or training the tree structurally.

Why Hiring Tree Care Professionals Can Save Your Tree

The 3 myths above are just the tip of the iceberg.  People have superstitions and weird habits galore when it comes to taking care of their tall friends but some might backfire and hurt your tree.

Although you can take care of your own trees, hiring a professional will ensure that the trees are treated properly and are able to reach their potential.  At Alberta Arborists, we have over 22 years of experience in providing quality residential, commercial, and municipal tree and shrub care in Alberta, so you can feel confident that we can expertly provide tree care services to your needs.

Contact us today for a free estimate of your tree work, and let us do the job right, the first time.

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