Unfortunately, certain tree myths lurk in the minds of many homeowners. Today we’re taking a look at some of the most pervasive (but completely untrue) myths about tree care.
Myth #1: Tree Topping Reduces Fall Hazard, while Improving the Health of Struggling Trees.
The Truth: Tree topping is deadly for all trees. Period. In reality, chopping off the top of a tree causes more hazard danger, since new growth is often poorly attached. Moreover, tree topping significantly reduces a tree’s ability to take in energy, making it more susceptible to disease and infestation.
Myth #2: Tree Pruning Always Causes Trees & Bushes to Grow More Vigorously.
The Truth: Tree trimming spurs local growth, but you must also consider that cutting away foliage means that the tree has less ability to photosynthesize, and therefore less capacity to take in energy for all life processes. Effective tree pruning strikes a balance between spurring new growth and maintaining leaf area. Severe/novice trimming can cause serious damage to a tree.
Myth #3: Tree Cavities Should be Filled with Concrete, for Improved Healing.
The Truth: Filling a tree hole with concrete used to be considered wise. The thinking was that filling them with concrete could strengthen weakened trees. However, we now know that this practice causes serious harm. While a filled tree moves with the wind, the concrete column inside stays immobile, causing abrasion. This increases decay and invites disease.
Myth #4: Branches will Always Grow Back, so It Doesn’t Really Matter Where You Cut Them Off.
The Truth: Limbs do not grow back in the same spot. Random, thoughtless pruning can cause permanent damage. Tree trimming is an art and a science that should be left to a professional.
Myth #5: Newly Planted Trees Should Always Be Staked.
The Truth: Staking is a species-by-species consideration. Species that need structural support to stay upright will indeed benefit from stakes. However, you can actually limit strength by staking trees that are able to stand on their own. Staking is necessary in areas of high wind, and when the tree needs help staying upright. Always remove stakes once the tree is strong and established.
Myth #6: Old, Diseased Branches will Come Down on Their Own, So We Don’t Need to Worry About It.
The Truth: Yes, unhealthy branches will eventually fall—but they are a real hazard, as one can never know which storm will cause a limb to come crashing to the ground (or onto your roof, onto your pet, onto your car, etc.). It’s smart to be concerned about the dead branches in your trees. Rather than waiting for tragedy to strike, call an expert arborist to discover whether pruning or tree removal is your best (safest) option.
This is only a handful of the dozens of tree myths in circulation today. Rather than depending on the old wives tales you hear about trees, it’s best to contact a professional arborist with your questions. Don’t trust the rumors you hear about tree health. Contact a professional arborist for reliable, accurate information.