It’s a sad reality of modern life that Americans are losing out on trees. In 2018 alone, urban areas lost 36 million trees, according to Scientific American. One of the greatest benefits of a homestead is that, in most cases, nature is right there on your doorstep. Despite this, trees can sometimes become problematic. Regardless, they remain one of the best things to plant in your homestead patch, and so a good homesteader will judiciously approach tree management.
Judicious Tree Management For The Eco-Conscious Homestead
What does a healthy tree need?
If you have no trees on your property, you should ask yourself what you need to start. Firstly, you need to consider space. A good rule of thumb is that the tree will have a root diameter of half its height. So, a 20-foot tree will have 10 foot of root in all directions from the trunk. Accordingly, for larger trees, you will need to consider developing a plot of land for tree growth to ensure there is sufficient uncompacted soil for the tree to flourish within. These things are important for good tree management.
What keeps a tree healthy?
Trees are hardy, but it’s not good enough to simply plant one and forget about it. A healthy and flourishing tree is a labor of love, and there are key steps to take. According to the University of California Division of Agriculture, the tree will need staking in early years to support itself. Later, regular pruning is mandatory. Follow a guide, like the University of California’s, to identify good and unhealthy branches and to ensure that pests and diseases can’t invade the remainder of pruned branches. Do not be tempted to ‘top’ the tree – that’s chopping off all of the branches. This is unhealthy for the plant and not recommended for good tree management.
When roots encroach
Your homestead shouldn’t have any issues with tree root damage if you properly maintain the plant through pruning and branch surgery. Roots can’t be ignored; they will cause serious pipe damage if left unaddressed and can affect structural integrity. You can prune the tree more aggressively to stunt growth and look at digging under then to remove roots. Treat the roots much like the external branches to ensure you don’t cause damage. It’s worth noting it’s extremely difficult to stop roots entirely, as they will eventually burrow through most substrates.
Nature is one of the best benefits of a homestead, and trees are some of the best nature has to offer. With proper tree management, you’ll feel the benefit. Be judicious with pruning and surgery and keep an eye on the height and extent of roots.