How to care for a mature tree
Posted on: July 14th, 2016
Before we get into how to care for a mature tree, it is important to define what a mature tree is. Sadly, trying to pin down a specific age when a tree becomes 'mature' is as difficult as comparing human beings. One person can be perceived as mature many years before another; in the same way, different species of tree mature at different ages.
Trees are generally considered mature once they're old enough to reproduce and bear seed. A dwarf fruit tree may bear fruit at 4-5 years, whereas an oak or evergreen may take well over a decade to reach maturity. It is also worth noting than many trees will continue to grow taller and wider having reached maturity.
Therefore, before any pruning or maintenance takes place, you need to know the species of trees you have in your garden.
Caring for a mature tree
Mature trees need less care and attention than newly planted and young trees but they do still require regular watering, pruning and disease and pest protection to remain healthy.
If they aren't being watered correctly or are planted in poor soil conditions, the health of your mature tree will start to decline. Bear in mind that the tree may be in difficulties long before you notice any significant symptoms. Keep an eye on your trees – changes to their foliage such as leaf or branch drop are markers of a stressed tree – so that you can begin any treatment as early as possible.
Water is an absolute must, no matter how strong and large your tree may be. It's sobering to know that a mature tree that succumbs to drought takes decades to replace.
As a general rule of thumb, a tree will need around 25 gallons of water each week unless there has been plenty of heavy rainfall. 25 gallons is equal to 1.5 inches of rain.
Remember too that each species needs a different amount of water so do your research first.
Mature trees need to be pruned on a regular basis. This is to remove excessive weight from branches and to get rid of any dead or diseased wood. However, you can over prune your tree, leaving it vulnerable. If older trees are left with large pruning wounds, they are unable to regrow as quickly as a young tree, making them more susceptible to disease.
Ideally, you should ask a qualified and experienced tree surgeon to carry out any pruning. However, if you are planning on doing it yourself, please take a look at some of our previous blogs, which offer hints and tips to minimise stress for you and your tree.
- The benefits of reduction pruning in the summer
- Can pruning cause damage to a tree?
- How and where to prune a tree?
- The right tools to prune.
Pests and diseases
If left unchecked, pests and disease can kill your trees, no matter what their age. These can differ from species to species. Therefore, it is important that you learn what types of pests and diseases could affect your garden's trees so you can keep an eye out for any symptoms.
If you are concerned that your tree is diseased, the first port of call should be your local tree surgeon.
Keep lawnmowers, shovels, rakes etc away from trees to avoid damaging their roots or trunk. Mulch every season to keep the soil around your tree moist – mulch will also help to control weeds.
We hope you found this article on ‘How to care for a mature tree’ useful. If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article then please do not hesitate to call Prince Tree Surgery on 01277 229709 or you can 'ask Matt'