Tree care: How to keep your trees in good shape

May 6, 2021
  1. Tree care: A task for specialists
  2. The tree inspection or tree assessment
  3. Crown pruning and crown care
  4. When a tree casts too much shade
  5. When an old tree becomes weak
  6. When nothing else helps
  7. Plant new trees

Trees are beautiful, provide shade - and are useful. On the one hand, they produce oxygen and release it into the air. A fully grown tree produces about as much oxygen as ten people need to breathe. On the other hand, trees clean the air because they filter the environmentally harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, bind it and store it in their trunks, branches and roots. That is why we should not only look after the forests, but also the trees in our gardens.

Tree care: A task for specialists

You can care for individual smaller trees yourself. For several trees or large trees, professional tree care is advisable. This is done by tree care specialists. Only those who have completed the professional examination with the federal certificate of proficiency may call themselves tree care specialists. The prerequisite is 24 months of practical experience for professionals from green professions such as nurseryman, forester, farmer or landscape gardener, and 48 months for all other professionals. Tree care specialists work for horticulturists or companies that specialise in tree care.

The tree inspection or tree assessment

Tree care specialists also plant trees, of course. However, their most important tasks (and most frequent assignments) are tree inspections, tree maintenance and tree felling. When they inspect or assess trees, they draw up expert reports on their stability, breakage safety and health. Based on their findings, they recommend sensible measures. The tree inspection is thus the first step towards professional tree care.

Crown pruning and crown care

Crown pruning is primarily used to maintain or improve the stability of the tree. This is important to prevent personal injury and damage to property. For example, if a rotten branch breaks off and injures someone or damages something, the property owner can be held responsible. Especially if he or she has not maintained the tree or has maintained it inadequately. That is why tree maintenance is worthwhile, especially if there are larger trees in your garden.

Houzy Advice

Good to know

If a storm causes a tree to fall or branches to break off, this is considered natural hazard damage. In this case, the cantonal building insurance covers the damage up to the deductible.

Houzy Hint

Tip

The best time for crown pruning and crown care is when the trees are in leaf, then cuts heal fastest. Crown care involves pruning and/or relieving scrawny branches, so-called rubbing branches, and branches that have weakened growth and stability.

When a tree casts too much shade

The natural shade is pleasant. You will appreciate this especially in high summer. Sometimes, however, a tree stands awkwardly or casts too much shade. Then its crown can be limited. Crown pruning is useful if the tree shades your garden patio, the neighbouring plot or your vegetable garden all day long. Or if several trees stand next to each other and their crowns interlock.

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When an old tree becomes weak

Some trees have grown close to people's hearts. Before you have a tree felled, you can take the pressure off it. A crown brace can be used, for example, to secure branches of the trunk that are at risk of breaking. The protection is installed at statically suitable points. It is important that the movement of the tree crown is still possible during wind or snowfall. Because such crown protections are foreign bodies and the rope tension changes over time due to growth and crown movements, the protection must be checked regularly.

Houzy Advice

Good to know

Depending on the material, load and wear, a crown brace provides sufficient breaking load protection for eight to ten years. Then it must be replaced.

When nothing else helps

Sick trees or trees that are too weak must be felled. You should hire arboricultural specialists to do this. Especially if the garden (or around it) is cramped. If possible, the tree should be felled in one piece and lopped off at ground level. If this is not possible due to the surroundings, the tree is lopped standing up and cut piece by piece. The individual pieces are roped down with release ropes, possibly requiring a crane or even a helicopter. Regardless of how the tree is felled, the stump or rootstock must be cleared with a stump grinder to below the grown terrain.

Plant new trees

Of course, arboricultural specialists not only maintain and fell trees, they also plant them. This includes advice on possible locations, useful tree species and their susceptibility to diseases and pests. Furthermore, arboricultural specialists take care of the growth, young trees and pruning so that the tree grows properly, and explain to you how to promote tree growth. For example, with fertilisers, site improvements through soil aeration, irrigation systems or the growth-promoting design of the root areas.

Tree care: Planting a new tree in the garden
For site and tree selection, it is best to seek expert advice from arboricultural specialists.

Do you want to have your trees professionally maintained or plant trees in your garden? Talk to an expert and get advice. Tree care is something for professionals.
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