The Root of the Problem: Paying Attention to Tree Health

Tree Health


Research shows that the presence of trees in a community encourages people to be more physically active, and, in general, affects their attitudes and behaviors. In addition, leafy and healthy trees can make a big contribution to the well-being of an apartment community, providing a great aesthetic value for residents.

The big, tall oak may be grand in stature but it’s sometimes overlooked in overall landscape care. Aside from regular or periodic pruning and shaping, trees may not get those health checkups that can help prevent disease and damage that will send them tumbling down before it’s too late. When a tree appears unhealthy, often the damage has been done and it’s a matter of time before it dies. Replacing a tree can be costly beyond removal expense of the dead one. A mature tree can cost upwards of $10,000 to replace.

Regular inspections and knowing the signs of distress go a long way toward maintaining healthy trees and ensuring great curb appeal for any apartment community.

Keep an eye on the appearance of your trees

A number of things from insects to fungus to the types of surrounding soil can affect the health of a tree. A big issue today is planting trees in new developments where conditions aren’t really ideal for long-term growth. Trees planted on bedrock, caliche or pure clay holds little in the form of the proper nutrients. The tree may suffer stunted growth, increasing the chances for disease. Ten years later, the tree will be the same size as the day it was planted, and generally be sickly.

Unfortunately, a more mature tree may not show signs of a problem quick enough. Usually, an unhealthy tree doesn’t appear as bad as it really is for quite some time – lack of water and root damage may not show up for two or three years. This can be especially true for trees that have been in drought.

Tree Health Apartment

Most landscaping contracts don’t include tree care, other than seasonal pruning and cleanup. So it’s a good idea for properties to be aware of the health of its oaks, maples, conifers and other trees. Ideally, a property should assign someone – perhaps a maintenance team member – to periodically visually inspect the trees. This can be done as technicians are moving about the property doing other tasks.

If a tree is suspected of having a problem, and you need more assistance than what your landscaper can give you, contact a professional arborist. Licensed arborists are educated and understand how to care for trees and recommend treatments. They can diagnose what you may suspect to be a problem. In the meantime, know some of the signs that your trees may be unhealthy.


President, Earthworks

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Chris Lee is President of Dallas, Texas-based Earthworks, which specializes in multifamily housing landscaping. He is a contributing author to Landscape Management magazine, licensed irrigation specialist and a Toro Intellisense certified technician. Chris studied business at the University of Arkansas from 1990-94 and horticulture and landscape design at Tarrant County College from 1999-01. He has been employed at Earthworks since 1998.

One response to “The Root of the Problem: Paying Attention to Tree Health”

  1. DoloresB says:

    Tree care is a big overlooked part of landscaping. I think it’s important for people to understand why tree health is a big deal. It’s just like you said, regular inspections are important to help maintaining healthy trees.

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