Tree Services

Essential Tree Care Techniques

Trees are valuable assets that enhance the appearance of any landscape. They provide privacy, and shade, and offer habitat for wildlife. Keeping trees healthy throughout their expected biological lifespan requires regular Hummingbird Tree Care LLC.

Essential tree care includes staking (when necessary), pruning, fertilization, and watering. It also involves soil testing and adding organic material to the ground.

tree care services

Proper Pruning

Aside from enhancing the overall aesthetics of a property’s landscape, regular pruning is essential for tree health. It removes dead, diseased, or broken limbs and helps strengthen the overall structure of the tree, making it less vulnerable to damage during storms or severe weather conditions. Pruning also improves light penetration and reduces the risk of pest infestation.

Some trees require more frequent pruning than others, such as fruit or shade trees. We recommend a minimum of twice a year to keep your trees healthy and looking their best.

Proper pruning involves removing any dead, damaged, or crossing branches and trimming branches to reduce the potential for future defects such as disease or insect infestation. It also promotes air circulation, shapes the canopy, and reduces wind resistance, which can be a safety issue during severe weather. We also take care to prune any limbs that are too close to power lines, buildings, or pedestrian pathways. These limbs are at a higher risk of failure during a storm and can pose a hazard to people or animals.

Several different pruning techniques can be used including thinning, topping, and raising. Each serves a specific purpose and addresses different issues such as overcrowding, shape and form, and clearance. It’s important to understand these techniques and how they differ so you can select the correct one for your trees.

When pruning a tree, it’s important to make clean cuts that follow the natural shape of the branch and leave no stubs. A stub can invite insects, diseases, and decay to enter the wound and impede the tree’s ability to heal properly. When cutting a branch, it’s also important to not cut too close to the branch collar. The branch collar is the swollen area where the branch attaches to the trunk and contains valuable chemical enzymes that prevent disease in the plant.

It’s generally recommended to prune most trees during the dormant season, in winter or early spring, to avoid interrupting growth processes. However, for flowering or fruit trees, we may prune them after they bloom or in summer to promote proper pollination and fruit set. It’s important not to prune a tree too often or too hard, as this can cause stress and reduce the health of the plant.


Trees need an adequate supply of nutrients to be healthy and able to withstand stresses like drought, disease, and pest infestations. Fertilizing provides the right balance of nutrients to promote root growth, enhance tree strength, and improve overall plant health. Fertilizing is one of the most effective and beneficial maintenance practices that a property owner can undertake to help ensure the long-term well-being of their trees.

In the natural environment, leaves and twigs break down on the forest floor to recycle essential nutrients for new growth. The absence of this natural process in urban landscapes means that trees need to be actively fertilized to sustain their health and vitality, especially as they age.

Adding fertilizer provides the 3 macronutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – that are needed for all of a tree’s metabolic functions. By supplying these essential nutrients, tree fertilization promotes root growth, encourages flowering and fruiting, and enhances the resistance of trees to diseases and insects.

However, applying too much or the wrong type of fertilizer can harm the health of a tree. Too much nitrogen can cause tree foliage to turn yellow and reduce the number of leaves produced. The wrong type of fertilizer can also harm a tree’s roots, causing them to grow more slowly than they would without added nutrition.

Proper timing is also important when it comes to fertilizing trees. The best time to apply a slow-release, balanced, nutrient-rich fertilizer is in early spring before shoot growth begins or in late fall as the tree enters dormancy. These times of year coincide with the most intense root demand and optimal soil temperature, moisture, and fertility conditions.

Mulching is another essential technique in the care of trees and shrubs. An organic layer of mulch helps retain moisture, regulates soil temperature, and prevents weed growth. It is recommended that mulch be applied at least to the drip edge of the tree and out to a radius of 3-6 feet around it. This is particularly important for specimen trees and in areas where architectural pruning techniques (pollarding, pleaching, espalier, topiary) have been used.


Providing trees with adequate water is one of the most important factors to keep them healthy and looking good. Trees that don’t receive enough water will be weak, brittle, and vulnerable to pests and diseases. The key is to provide the tree with water that gets deep into the soil, versus surface watering that can only reach the topsoil layer.

The amount of water a tree needs depends on its age and species, weather conditions, and soil type. Young or newly planted trees typically need more frequent and longer durations of watering than older or well-established trees.

A general rule of thumb is to water the drip zone of a tree (the area surrounding the base of the trunk) as often as twice per week during dry periods. This applies to both deciduous and evergreen trees.

When watering, make sure to soak the soil to a depth of at least 20 inches — this helps ensure that the roots get the proper amount of moisture and promotes nutrient cycling by bringing nutrients down into the root zones. Surface watering with a hose or a sprinkler can cause too much water to run off and not be absorbed, so using a soaker hose or drip irrigation is usually the best way to go.

Another easy way to determine whether a tree requires more watering is to simply examine the soil. If it’s still moist or damp to a depth of six inches, there’s no need to water. You can also check the soil by inserting a probe or screwdriver into the soil. If the probe is easily inserted and feels cool and moist when removed, the soil does not need any additional water.

In addition to proper watering, it is essential to mulch around the base of a tree. Mulch, which can be composed of wood chips or other chopped-up natural material, provides a protective cover for the tree’s roots and lowers the soil temperature, reducing evaporation. It also helps suppress weeds and improves soil quality by adding organic matter. It’s a great practice to follow year-round, but especially during droughts or hot temperatures.

Winter Care

Trees play a key role in the health of landscapes. They provide shade, add beauty and value, improve air quality, and offer habitat for wildlife. However, trees require care to maintain their health throughout the year. A few simple steps can help keep your trees healthy and strong all winter long.


Regular pruning helps fortify the overall strength of a tree, as well as remove dead branches that could fall and damage property or people. This is particularly important for young or recently planted trees. Pruning also allows more sunlight and space to reach lower-growing limbs, encouraging their growth.


A layer of natural mulch in the form of wood chips, leaves, or other organic material is a great way to protect a tree’s roots and soil during the colder months. The mulch helps insulate the roots from dramatic temperature changes that can damage or even kill a tree’s root system.


It is essential to continue to provide water for your trees even though they are dormant. A light application of water can help promote deep, strong root systems and help prevent droughts during the winter.


Adding a slow-release fertilizer formulated to your trees’ specific needs can be a great way to give them a much-needed energy boost as they enter the dormant season. Fertilizing can also help prevent micronutrient deficiencies (typically characterized by yellowing of the canopy) that deprive the plant of the energy it needs to defend itself against pests and diseases.


Especially in windy locations, or when the trunk of a tree is very thick, consider staking it to help the trunk withstand stress. For new trees, a stake is often recommended to help them develop a strong trunk and may be needed to provide support until the roots are fully established.


Regular inspections are vital to the health of your trees. They help you catch problems like pests and diseases early so that they can be treated before the problem gets out of control. You can inspect a tree by examining the base of the trunk, the soil and roots, and the overall condition of the crown.