You love the trees in your yard. But have you ever scratched your head and wondered how you’re supposed to care for its health? Tree pruning isn’t as straightforward as lawn mowing. Don’t worry—keep reading! Here we’ll go over the need-to-know fundamentals of tree care in Michigan.

Preserving the Beauty of Michigan Trees

All its residents know it—Michigan boasts a stunning array of trees. From lively birches to majestic oaks, there’s no shortage of unique and eye-catching trees to admire in our one-of-a-kind state. Our scenic surroundings become even more evident at this time of year. As summer wanes and slowly gives way to autumn, the canopies above us come alive and dance with vibrant, awe-inspiring colors.

Our state’s natural beauty lends itself to stunning residential landscapes. Most suburban streets are laden with ancient trees and young saplings, seemingly plucked straight from the heart of the forest. But with such a wide variety of trees on your household property, how does the average homeowner stay on top of tree care? Here we’ve answered some of the most common questions we receive at Cherry Oak Landscaping:

How Do I Choose What Trees to Plant?

Perhaps Mother Nature didn’t bless your backyard with trees, and you’re looking to plant or purchase some. We don’t blame you! Trees add value to your home and do wonders for your property’s curb appeal. But where do you begin?

Start by taking a leaf (pun intended) out of Mother Nature’s book. We recommend planting native Michigan trees in your yard because they’ll have the best chance of survival. Native trees have an inherent resistance to common insects and diseases in the area. It makes sense when you think about it—you wouldn’t dream of planting a cactus in the arctic! The succulent would quickly die from exposure to freezing temperatures and moisture. And while a cactus in the arctic is an extreme example, the principle still applies here. Trees that have already been growing in Michigan for hundreds and hundreds of years have developed an innate ability to withstand the state’s unique climate that foreign trees simply won’t have.

Where Should I Plant My Trees?

Equally important as the type of tree you’re planting is the location. Even if you decide to plant a common sugar maple, one of the most prevalent trees in the state, your wise decision won’t amount to much if you plant the seeds under your backyard deck. Again, the exaggerative example notwithstanding, you can see what we’re getting at. You need to plant your tree where it receives enough sunlight and is rooted in good soil.

Besides consulting with a professional or doing some online research, one easy way you can get a good idea of what trees will suit your yard is by looking at your neighbor’s yard. Chances are, the trees that are thriving next door will thrive on your landscape, too.

How Do I Prune My Trees?

Now that you’ve planted your trees, you need to find out the best pruning methods to support their growth. This is especially important early on in a tree’s life. Employing proper pruning techniques will help young trees grow to be structurally safe. It’s helpful to have an idea of what the natural shape of your trees will be when they reach maturity. For instance, if you chop everything off your tree to be circular, you might unknowingly be counteracting what nature intends to do with it. It’s also good to keep in mind that young trees depend on their leaves to supply the energy they need to grow. Be careful not to snip too much of their canopies away, or else they might start to wither from malnutrition.

Finally, for the vast majority of Michigan trees, you want to cut as close as possible to where the branch grows from the trunk. You don’t want to leave a stub remaining. Generally speaking, start by cutting dead and diseased branches. Then, try to remove branches that are crossing, rubbing against each other, or growing back towards the trunk.

When Is the Best Time of Year to Prune Trees?

In Michigan, the ideal time to prune your trees is between the end of fall and the beginning of spring. This is because by late autumn, trees have just finished their growth cycle, and early spring is just before they’re about to rouse from their sleep and begin a new growth cycle. The cold months are when trees are dormant, and dormant trees are less likely to undergo stress during pruning.

Plus, trimming your trees while they’re dormant gives them time to heal and seal their wounds before new branches start to grow. The cold weather tends to drive away pests and insects, so you won’t have to worry about infestations intruding and nesting in the open wounds, causing disease and decay.

Now that autumn is upon us; pruning season is just around the corner. But before you bring out and dust off the shears, a good rule of thumb is to wait until the leaves have fallen from your trees. When the branches are bare, then you can get scissor-happy!

Of course, while late fall to early spring is the ideal time to trim trees, this is not a hard and fast rule and does not apply in the case of a safety hazard. If your tree has a low-hanging branch that looks dangerously close to falling, contact a professional to remove it straight away—whether it’s mid-July or mid-September!

What Should I Do if After Reading This, I’m Still Not Sure What to Do?

There you have it! The homeowner’s guide to tree care in Michigan. If you still have questions or doubts about the trees on your landscape, it never hurts to reach out to a professional! At Cherry Oak Landscaping, tree care is what we do. We have years of experience tending to trees so that they reach their full, glorious potential. Discover what your landscape can become—call our friendly team today.