The right tree transforms a bland yard into one with character. But the wrong tree also makes a lasting impression, waving a red flag in front of the eyes of potential buyers. An unpruned tree is an eyesore, a diseased tree sends a message of neglect and a large tree too close to a house may look like an accident waiting to happen.
Yearly pruning and other regular maintenance are the best ways to ensure trees are putting their best foot forward. Even if you’ve put tree care on the back burner for a number of years, it’s not too late to get your yard’s tallest residents in shipshape. Trees are forgiving and relatively slow growing, so don’t despair if it’s been awhile since you’ve given them any TLC.
It’s best to leave pruning, trimming and removal of large trees to professionals. While you may feel up to pruning dwarf and young trees, working on large trees is dangerous for those without the proper tools and experience.
Prune Trees for Shape and Health
Pruning an unruly tree gives curb appeal an instant boost. An arborist, with just a few cuts, can give a tree a more graceful, balanced shape. If a tree is obscuring the view of your home, you may be able to open the sightline with judicious pruning.
Although it’s best to prune during dormancy, a professional can generally remove branches any time of the year. If you’re putting your home on the market, ask your tree-care company to assess your trees.
Pruning, besides keeping the branches neat, also keeps the plant strong. Pruning encourages growth by removing weak branches before they take a toll on the tree’s energy. Trees should be attended to about once a year. If you keep up with this maintenance, your trees will look well groomed, needing only a touch-up each year.
Remove Hazardous Trees or Branches
Branches overhanging a home pose a risk to property and people. Foliage growing close to utility lines are also a hazard. Potential buyers are turned off when they look at a tree and all they see are problems
Branches hanging too low over a street, driveway or walkway should be removed. Make sure there’s plenty of clearance under a tree for foot or vehicular traffic. Most municipalities have guidelines for the amount of clearance required.
If a tree is too large for its space, pruning can’t remedy the situation. Topping a tree, or cutting it back aggressively is not an option. This type of cutting is not only ugly, it’s damaging to a tree’s health.
Take Care of Sick Trees
People checking out a home can’t help but notice a big, dead tree casting a pall over your property. If you suspect a tree is unhealthy, get it checked out by an arborist.
Some trees may be saved by removing just diseased branches. Others may have to be removed completely. Depending on where you live, it’s possible you’ll need a permit to cut down a tree.
Get Rid of Stumps
You’ve no doubt heard the advice to stage your home by removing clutter and personal items. The same holds true for a yard.
A tree stump has rustic charm for some people. But most will see a leftover tree trunk as something that needs to removed. A stump takes away from the polish you should aim for in a front yard.
Grinding quickly and completely gets rid of a stump. In just a few minutes, the remaining trunk and roots are turned into sawdust. The soil can be worked and planted right away.
Trees are the biggest and most noticeable plants in your yard. Keeping them well groomed and healthy increases your yard’s charm, now and for years to come.
Sara Thompson is a home and lifestyle blogger from Portland, Oregon. This post was written in collaboration with certified arborists at Inexpensive Tree Care. Find more tips like this on their blog.