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Thinning out your trees' dead and disease-ridden branches creates air flow within the canopy, which helps prevent leaf disease issues and fungal infections.

Complete Your Spring Checklist the Right Way for Happy, Healthy Trees

May 22, 2015

The sun is shining and the trees are budding! Davey is on the air to talk trees this spring season.

Davey is proud to appear on Pittsburgh KDKA, News Radio 1020 station this spring, summer and fall. Every other Sunday morning, one of our local district managers will discuss several tree and landscape topics—some of which we will feature on the Davey blog!

Davey Tree Arborist on the Air: Last week, Todd Sherbondy, district manager of Davey’s East Pittsburgh residential tree care services, discusses spring checklist dos and don’ts with radio hosts Doug Oster and Jessica Walliser of “The Organic Gardeners. The following script is based on Sherbondy’s interview.

KDKA: For the spring checklist, what should be first on your list?

TS: The first thing that comes to my mind is mulching and how much is too much. We work on so many properties that are way over-mulched—wasting homeowners’ time and money. A low-impact way to preserve tree and plant health is to keep mulch down; keep it off plants and tree trunks.


KDKA: If everyone knows how bad “volcano mulching” is, why are we still seeing it?

TS: Unfortunately, many people don’t understand proper mulching techniques and continue to volcano mulch. Over-mulching locks in heat and moisture around the trunk—allowing disease and insects to invade the most essential part of the tree, its root flare. The key to proactive mulching is to evenly disperse mulch two-to-three inches around the base of trees or plants.

KDKA: How are trees holding up after a very hard winter?

TS: We have seen a lot of winter damage, including desiccation in evergreens and box woods. Most plants and trees should recover with favorable growing conditions and should start to bud. If trees continue not to bloom, contact Davey to inspect the trees’ health and vitality.

KDKA: Is there anything we should be conscious of in our landscape due to high temperatures so early in the season?

TS: Leaf disease issues and fungal infections are running rampant right now. Pruning is a great idea: start to thin out trees’ dead and disease-ridden branches to create air flow—allowing the trees to dry out moisture and reduce risks of infestation.

KDKA: Are there specific trees we should not prune this time of year?

TS: Do not prune oaks, elms or trees affected by fire blight, including trees with stone fruits like crabapple, pear and cherry trees. If you are going to prune these trees this season, it’s important to sterilize your hand tools with Lysol® spray to stop disease from spreading from tree-to-tree.

KDKA: When is the best time to prune oak trees?

TS: Typically, we only prune trees and plants during the dormant period, which is October through February. If you are going to prune oaks or other plants throughout the year, disinfect your tools after every cut you make—using proper pruning techniques with clean cuts.

For more tree and landscape tips this spring season, listen to the full interview with Sherbondy.

Need help completing your spring checklist? Contact your local arborist for a free consultation.

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