Stein Discusses 5 Tree Care Myths

By Stein Tree
Posted on October 13, 2020

Many homeowners or business owners have certain ideas about tree care that are tree care myths. Some myths relate to specific techniques and applications when planting new trees, such as staking or pruning. Others involve general tree care practices, such as tree topping or applying mulch around trees. And some are misguided ideas, like filling up a tree with concrete. Here are 5 tree care myths and the reality behind each one of them.

1. You Need to Stake a Newly Planted Tree

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One of the most common tree care myths is that you need to stake a newly planted tree. While some trees do benefit from staking, the practice is optional and may even have consequences. Trees need to develop strong root systems and good trunk tapers for long-term health, both of which can be hindered by staking. The qualities that indicate a tree needs staking are the following:

  • Abnormally small root systems
  • The stems bend excessively without support
  • A very windy planting site that can uproot trees

The tree needs to become accustomed to the environment in which it lives, and be able to withstand the conditions of that environment.

2. Prune a Tree Heavily When First Planted

Another one of the famous tree care myths regarding planting trees is that you need to prune the tree heavily when planting. Trees need a full crown to produce food and plant hormones, which promotes root growth and health. and a healthy crown helps. Some pruning helps promote good shape and growth when done properly, but large or improper cuts leave wounds that may be hard for the tree to heal while using its energy to recover and grow in its new space. For newly planted trees, pruning should be structural or to remove damaged branches, and the crown should remain full.

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3. If A Tree Is Too Large, Topping Is Required

Tree topping is one of the worst possible ways of pruning a tree, despite the fact that many people engage in this practice. Topping removes a large part of a tree’s canopy, which has numerous downsides such as:

  • Significantly reducing the ability of the tree to collect sunlight and create nutrients
  • Causing great stress
  • Creating many wounds that will be hard for the tree to heal

All of those downsides increase the chance of the branches becoming diseased and infected, or breaking and falling off. Tree topping is a poor practice often used when trees are growing out of their provided space, and should be replaced with careful pruning or assessment from a certified arborist.

4. Mulch Should Be Piled Up Against the Tree

One of the most common tree care myths for homeowners is that mulch has to be piled right up against the tree. Though mulching is good for trees, a typical mulching practice is to stack the mulch up against the tree trunk, which is also known as “volcano mulching.” Volcano mulching creates a pest-friendly environment and increases the chance of girdling roots. The mulch should be applied in the shape of a doughnut rather than a volcano. Avoiding volcano mulching can go a long way to improving a tree’s health and growth.

5. Tree Cavities Should be Filled with Concrete

Filling tree cavities with concrete was a common practice in the past, but we now know this to be a poor practice. The idea behind filling a cavity with concrete was that the concrete could strengthen a tree. Trees move with the wind and continue to grow, so the concrete ends up irritating the tree instead. Hurting the tree in this way can lead to further harm such as decay and disease. The real solution to tree cavities depends on the tree, and contacting a certified arborist is the best course of action.

Contact Stein for Tree Care Services

If you are looking for tree and plant care services for your landscape, contact Stein Tree Service. Stein’s ISA certified arborists and other tree care professionals are dedicated to providing exceptional plant and tree care services. We have been in business for over 35 years, serving many communities in Delaware and Philadelphia. Our equipment is state-of-the-art, and our staff is ready for emergency dispatch. For more information on tree care myths, or a free consultation, contact us today.


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