Rock Talk

Your Intro to Tree Maintenance

Last updated on November 6, 2019 at 12:22 pm

While trees can be a useful and beautiful addition to your yard, it’s important to keep tabs on their health on a regular basis. Weak trees can become dangerous in a storm, especially if they are close to your house or utility lines.

A little proactive tree maintenance can help prevent damage to your home or from having to go without power. Here’s your intro to tree maintenance:


There are three basic reasons why you’d want to prune or trim a tree, according to the USDA: safety, health and aesthetics. Pruning for safety includes removing branches or limbs that could cause property damage, or interfere with sightlines from streets or driveways. Pruning for health can help you prolong the life of your trees by getting rid of diseased wood. Trimming for aesthetics is fairly straightforward.


The USDA says conifers (evergreens or pine trees) can be trimmed at any time of the year. The agency recommends checking with local tree professionals about when to trim other kinds of trees, so you don’t inadvertently invite disease. The Arbor Day Foundation recommends against pruning in the fall, as this can be peak time for fungi to invade your tree.

If you’re getting rid of dead limbs or completely removing a tree, the time of year is less important.

What to look for

There are several telltale signs that your tree may be dangerous. According to the New Jersey Forest Service, the best way to inspect large trees is to get out pair of binoculars and look for dead limbs, cracks and decay. You should also pay attention to forked trunks, as that may be a weak spot, and the tree’s proximity to your home or utility lines.

Is yardwork not your thing?

If you’re not comfortable with doing tree maintenance on your own, or question your abilities in any way, hire a professional. A certified arborist will be able to provide you expert guidance on how to best care for your trees and can do the job safer than you can on your own. The International Society of Arboriculture can help you find a certified arborist in NJ.

Does your homeowners insurance coverage damaged from felled trees? Find out more about home insurance from Plymouth Rock Assurance in NJ.

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