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Few residential trees die of "old age". Mechanical damage and improper tree care kill more trees than any pest or disease. AVOID making these 24 harmful mistakes and consider hiring a certified Arborist to perform advanced tree care.

  1. "Top" your tree to encourage weak water sprouts

  2. Leave co-dominant leaders with included bark that split during winds and storms

  3. Plant to close to house or obstacle to reduce growing space

  4. Leave "stubs" when pruning to promote branch decay

  5. Leave crossing branches when pruning to rub bark wounds

  6. Ignore pests, diseases, and nutrient deficiencies

  7. Nail or attach items to tree to damage bark and girdle branches

  8. Encourage pests by leaving broken branches on the tree

  9. Coat pruning cuts with paint or sealer to slow wound closure

  10. Cut large branches flush with trunk to increase decay

  11. Damage roots and trunk with lawn equipment

  12. Spray herbicide on turf that accidentally poisons tree

  13. Cut through roots when digging trenches

  14. Encourage rot and hinder growth by leaving wrap on tree

  15. Leave tree staked until guy wire girdles trunk

  16. Pile mulch against the trunk to encourage rodent damage and bark rot

  17. Prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots by covering the soil with plastic weed barrier

  18. Leave root ball twine on to girdle roots

  19. Leave wire basket in place to girdle roots

  20. Leave on treated or synthetic burlap to prevent root growth

  21. Leave circling roots that will strangle the tree

  22. Dig planting hole too narrow and over-amend back fill to discourage proper root spread

  23. Dig hole too deep to smother the trunk flare and drown the roots

  24. Drown the toots by over-irrigating your lawn

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