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    Maintenance for anything, whether it's your garden, home or a community space is critical to the health and effect on the environment. For each area, maintenance is different. It can include a fresh layer of paint for an older building, or just some weeding of a community garden. No matter what, maintaining a space can increase community aesthetic appeal, as well as provide citizens the chance to truly engage the place in which they live and the people with whom they share it.

    If you are starting a garden from scratch, using native plants can prove very successful since they are already acclimated to the atmosphere of your garden, thus lowering maintenance. For pest issues,  shrubs and trees should be planted around the garden to attract birds that will eat these insects. In addition, ladybugs and green lacewings can be bought from garden supply stores which will also help to fight destructive insects from destroying the garden. Active maintenance of flowers includes pruning, pinching and deadheading. Through using organic mulch and frequent weeding, garden maintenance not only keeps the garden looking its best, but maintains the health and longevity of the plants.

Trees are one of the world’s most valuable natural assets.

They produce oxygen, without which the living planet cannot exist. They provide unparalleled building materials. And, they have great character and eye appeal throughout the seasons. When it comes to tree maintenance, here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Water.  Check soil moisture a few inches below the surface in the root ball.
  • Mulch.   Layer 3 to 4 inches above the ground around the tree but not touching the tree trunk.  The area should be four times the area of the root ball.    Do not use treated or dyed mulch.
  • Prune only if necessary.  See the “Tree Preservation” section for more details.
  • Stake only if necessary, early in the trees life.
  • Check for mower/weed whip damage, vandal damage and animal damage regularly.
  • Check for any insect or disease problems on the tree and surrounding trees.  Contact a forester or arborist if a problem exists.
  • Do not fertilize.  Fertilizer applied especially to newly transplanted trees can excessively dry roots (burning).
  • Remove all tags and twine from the tree to prevent girdling.

When to Call an Arborist 
The Oklahoma Experience Of:

  Robert Birchell and Associates
4201 NW 48th
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
(405) 947-1371 (office & fax)

Trees are an important part of our daily lives.  Trees help make the places where we live, work, and play more enjoyable.

For the most part, trees can get along just fine without our help.  But, we know that trees can live longer and be healthier with proper maintenance.  

With most folks, tree maintenance is only an issue following a storm or an occasional insect infestation.  In any case, we may be faced with the question of doing the maintenance ourselves or hiring an arborist.

I tell my clients, unless you know what the maintenance need(s) is/are, AND you can do the maintenance SAFELY and properly, you should call an arborist.  Qualified professional arborists can accurately describe what needs to be done to your trees and provide the skill to do the job right.

When hiring an arborist, ask for professional credentials such as a Certified Arborist certificate (through the International Society of Arboriculture) or a TCIA certificate (through the National Arborist Association).  Being insured and bonded does not make an arborist competent!!  Also, seek recommendations from your County Extension Agent, State Forester, or other impartial forester or arborist.  Don’t rely only on the recommendation of a friend or neighbor.

A true professional arborist should be willing to take the time to educate you on what your trees maintenance needs are and what should be done to correct the problem.  You should never hire an arborist that suggests your trees be “topped” or cut back.  These common pruning practices are very harmful to trees.  A professional arborist won’t suggest them and won’t go door to door to solicit work.  

Remember, the lowest price may not be the best choice.  Selecting a competent professional arborist will give you peace of mind knowing that your trees are getting the proper care they need.!

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