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Tips on Maintaining Trees and Avoiding Tree Damage

We've all seen trees gashed by car bumpers, and limbs blown off in storms, but these are just a couple of the many ways trees get injured. Others include chafing, scrapes, and cuts from lawn mowers being pushed into the lower trunks, or by improper staking; line trimmers cutting away bark week after week; rubbing away of the bark caused by touching branches; and improper pruning. All of these things create injuries, similar to a person being cut by a dull knife. If you get too many such cuts, you're going to be in serious trouble from infection, or loss of blood. Trees react in much the same way, so it’s important to avoid damage, if possible, and to provide proper tree care when it occurs.

Repeated Abuse Is The Worst

Of all the damaging things we've listed, the worst may be the repeated damage from lawn mowers and trimmers. When grass grows right up to a tree, the base of that tree is nearly guaranteed to take some direct hits by mowers, trimmers, or both. What makes it all worse is that it continues week after week, compounding the injuries over time. A simple and effective tree maintenance fix is a border of mulch around the base of your trees. This makes mowing a lot easier and protects the trees at the same time. You can read more about proper mowing techniques on our mowing tips page.

Avoid Staking Trees When Possible

Staking of trees should always be avoided when possible (to encourage stronger growth), but if needed, should be done right. Don't stake by tying stakes directly to the tree; avoid tightly binding straps; and remove all stakes as soon as the tree can stand on its own.

Proper Pruning

When pruning, make sure all cuts are clean, and keep heavier branches from ripping when your saw is 2/3 of the way through by doing an initial cut from the bottom. As part of your tree maintenance, remove one of each pair of branches that are rubbing and chafing against each other.

When You Discover Damage

When you do discover damage, it’s important to clean the wound. All tree injuries provide entry points for disease and insects, while interrupting the flow of water, food, and nutrients between the roots and the leaves. Removing any loose bark and brushing out any dirt that is lodged in the wound will expose the damaged area to sunlight, air, and promote healing. Fertilization helps speed up recovery from damage and general plant health.


  • Mechanical damage causes wounds that allow entry of diseases and insects into the soft tree wood.
  • Mulch all lawn trees to eliminate mower and trimmer damage.
  • Dress all wounds to promote fast healing and reduce disease or insect problems.

 We want to help you protect all of your landscape investment through effective lawn and tree care. Contact your neighborhood Spring-Green anytime you have questions about your lawn and tree care. 

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