As a homeowner, you want healthy trees in your landscape. Unfortunately, some common mistakes can compromise the health and beauty of your trees. Learning what they are can help you better care for the trees. 

1. Ropes

Whether you are putting up a hammock or tying a clothesline to your tree, ropes can do a lot of damage. In the short term, thin, round ropes rub on a tree and knock off the bark, which creates an opening for disease organisms and insect pests to invade the tree. In the long term, the rope can girdle the tree as it grows, eventually causing the tree to die. Use flat straps instead of rope to affix items to a tree trunk, as these are less likely to rub. Further, remove the straps when they aren't in use so that girdling doesn't occur.

2. Lawn Equipment

Your lawnmower or string trimmer could be destroying your tree. Bumping against the trunk with the equipment leads to bark damage, which will only get worse when it occurs repeatedly. A better option is to trim close to the trunk by hand so you can avoid damage. Or better yet, clear a strip of ground around the trunk so there is no need to maintain the lawn so closely to the tree.

3. Mulch

Mulch is an excellent way to prevent weeds from growing beneath a tree, but you must use caution. Mulch should only be about 3 inches deep, and it should never rest against the tree trunk. This is because mulch traps moisture, which can cause the trunk to rot if it comes into contact with the water. Always pull the mulch back to avoid this problem.

4. Branch Removal

It is a wise idea to remove dead, dying, or problematic branches, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. At the base of each branch, right where it connects to the trunk, is a raised bump called the branch collar. When trimming off branches, make the cut up against but not through this collar. This way there are no stubs protruding, which means the tree can heal the wound quickly and cleanly.

5. Sprinklers

Your sprinkler system could be damaging your trees. If the sprinklers spray the trunk in the same pattern day after day, the water can eventually cause the bark to weaken and weather away. Adjust your sprinklers or change the emitter types used near trees so that you don't have to worry about this problem.

Contact a tree service in your area for more help with maintaining healthy landscape trees.