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Tips for Protecting Your Trees

January 12, 2017

Two houses by the river

With the onset of the new growing season, spring is an optimal time to assess and promote the health of the trees on your property. The following tips may help you identify potential problems and protect your portion of Eugene's urban forest.

Inspection: Identify these features that may require attention

  • Broken, hanging or split limbs in the tree canopy
  • Limbs or portions of the tree without buds, or that are not leafing out consistently
  • Yellowing of foliage on evergreens
  • Damage to tree trunks or root areas
  • Uncharacteristic lean and soil disturbance in the root area

One or more of these features could indicate a decline in the health of your tree, consult a certified arborist for a more thorough investigation. If your tree is in the vicinity of overhead utility lines, contact us to assess the potential hazards.

Prune & Cleanup: Eliminate hazards and reduce disease transmission

  • Remove dead and damaged branches using proper pruning techniques
  • Rake up debris that has collected at the base of trees to prevent the spread of fungal pathogens

Never prune trees near power lines yourself, and remember that private contractors require clearance to prune trees near overhead utility lines. Call us for assistance when planning work with your arborist. Proper tree pruning procedures can be found in the American National Standards Association A300 Pruning Standard.

Mulch: Protect your tree

  • Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of your trees to suppress weeds, retain moisture and prevent damage from landscape equipment
  • Avoid piling mulch in contact with tree trunks to avoid disease transmission 

We provide rough quality wood chips free of charge. Contact our Vegetation Management Program to request chips. Call (541) 685-7000, then select "5" then "2" then "1."

Water & Fertilizer: Give your trees the best chance to thrive

  • Newly planted trees require watering for the first two to three years
  • During the dry summer trees should be watered deeply once a week
  • Sprinklers should be adjusted to water the soil in the root zone, avoid watering foliage directly
  • Organic compost and mulch slowly decompose and release nutrients into the tree root zone

Consult a local nursery or certified arborist for species-specific watering recommendations. Certain nutrient deficiencies and conditions can be treated with inorganic fertilizers. Consult a certified arborist to further assess your trees needs and soil characteristics.