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Pruning and maintaining trees

Pruning and maintaining trees

Florida can support hundreds of tree varieties. There are many tree types to choose from, but there are a few things you should keep in mind Pruning and maintaining trees when looking after them. Make sure to know the soil type, sun requirements, and fertilizer requirements of each tree you choose for your landscaping. If your tree is not well-managed, you can help it thrive by pruning and mulching.


Mulch regulates soil temperatures. It keeps roots cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Mulch also retains soil moisture, which helps reduce tree water requirements. Mulch can be used to control weeds and reduce soil erosion. It can also improve soil quality, which will improve or maintain tree health. These are some of the many benefits of mulch.

  • Keep a layer of 2 to 3 inches. You can apply coarse materials such as pine nuggets to a depth of up to 4 inches. However, don’t let mulch accumulate to a deeper depth. Mulch can cause damage to trees by intercepting rainwater and irrigation intended for their root systems.
  • Avoid “volcano-mulch.” Mulch placed against the tree’s base can trap moisture and encourage rot. Mulch can also encourage roots to grow closer to the trunk. Roots growing around the trunk could lead to tree death.
  • Mulch should be applied to the drip line and beyond. Mulch should extend at least 8 feet around the tree. In a forest environment, the entire root system of a tree (which often extends far beyond the drip line) would naturally be mulched.
  • Removing old mulch is important. Mulch can get matted and prevent water and air from getting through. Every couple of years, you should clean up mulch and soil against the trunk. This is in addition to any roots that may be growing in the mulch. Before adding new mulch to your landscape, remove any old mulch.


Pruning trees allows for selective branch removal to reduce height, risk of breakingage or provide clearance. These are the steps to follow when pruning. Then, shred the cuttings and add them to your compost pile. You can also leave the cuttings behind a bush to be decomposed.

  • Maintain it in good health. Take out any dead, diseased or injured branches Pruning and maintaining trees.
  • Maintain it strong. Reduce or eliminate stems that are competing with the main leader.
  • Maintain uniformity. Take out branches that touch or cross each other, and remove any that are out of place.
  • Don’t do anything too drastic. Only tackle small pruning jobs in your garden. To prune trees over 15 feet tall, you should hire an arborist certified by International Society of Arboriculture. Proper pruning increases hurricane resistance.

You can also find gardening solutions here:

  • Pruning Deciduous Fruit Trees
  • Calling the professionals

An arborist is a professional who can help you prune your trees. You should look for an arborist who has been certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. The certification signifies that the arborist has received continuing education through the ISA.

You can search for your zip code to find an ISA-certified arborist near you by visiting the International Society of Arboriculture Florida Chapter website.

Here are some tips to help you hire a quality arborist.

  • Ask your arborist for proof that you have workers’ compensation insurance. Also, make sure to check for licenses and permits required by the local or state governments.
  • Avoid arborists that claim to “top” trees.
  • Get a written proposal from more than one arborist to look at the job.
  • Ask for references from them and don’t hesitate to verify them. Tree care is a long-term investment.


Many Floridians are now avoiding deciduous trees because they feel that the fallen leaves need to be raked. Deciduous trees can reduce energy costs by shading houses in summer and, once leaves have fallen, allowing sunlight to heat houses in winter.

Leaves and pine needles can be raked and used as mulch, or added to the compost pile. Leaves can be left under trees to create a self-mulching zone. As they decay, leaves add nutrients and organic material to the soil. Plant shrubs underneath trees if aesthetics are a concern. This will prevent you from raking. Decomposing plant litter will be a benefit to the shrubs and it will help keep leaves in their place, so that they don’t overcrowd the landscape. Some shrubs can grow poorly under trees due to competition from tree roots for nutrients and water.


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