Trees are beautiful, provide shade – and are useful. For one thing, they produce oxygen and release it into the air. A fully grown tree produces about as much oxygen as ten people need to breathe. Secondly, trees clean the air because they filter the environmentally harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, bind it and store it in their trunks, branches and roots. That’s why we should take care not only of the forests, but also of the trees in our gardens.
Tree care: A task for specialists
You can take care of single smaller trees yourself. For several trees or large trees, professional tree care is advisable. This is done by tree care specialists. Only those who have completed the professional examination with the federal certificate of proficiency may call themselves tree care specialists. The requirement is 24 months of practical experience for professionals from green professions such as nurseryman, forester, farmer or landscape gardener, and 48 months for all other professionals. Tree care specialists work for horticulturalists or companies that specialize in tree care.
The tree inspection or tree assessment
Tree care specialists also plant trees, of course. However, their most important tasks (and most frequent assignments) are tree inspections, tree maintenance and tree felling. When they inspect or assess trees, they provide expert opinions on their stability, break resistance and health. Based on their findings, they recommend sensible measures. Tree inspection is thus the first step in professional tree care.
Crown pruning and crown care
The main purpose of crown pruning is to maintain or improve the stability of the tree. This is important to prevent personal injury and property damage. For example, if a rotten branch breaks off and injures someone or damages something, the property owner can be held responsible. Especially if he or she has failed to maintain the tree or has done so poorly. That’s why tree care is worthwhile, especially if you have larger trees in your yard.
Good to know: If a storm causes a tree to fall or branches to break off, this is considered natural hazard damage. In this case, the cantonal building insurance will cover the damage up to the deductible.
Tip: The best time for crown pruning and crown care is when the trees are in leaf, then cuts heal fastest. Crown care involves pruning and/or relieving scrawny branches, so-called rubbing branches, and branches that are weak in growth and stability.
When a tree casts too much shade
The natural shade is pleasant. You will appreciate it especially in high summer. But sometimes a tree stands awkwardly or casts too much shade. Then its crown can be limited. Crown limiting pruning is useful if the tree shadows your garden patio, the neighboring property or your vegetable garden all day long. Or if several trees stand next to each other and their crowns interlock.
When an old tree grows weak
Some trees have grown on people. Before you have a tree felled, you can take the strain off it. Crown bracing can be used, for example, to secure trunk branches that are at risk of breaking. The securing is installed at statically suitable points. It is important that the movement of the tree crown is still possible during wind or snowfall. Because such crown protections are foreign bodies and the rope tension changes over time due to growth and crown movements, the protection must be checked regularly.
Good to know: Depending on the material, load and wear, a crown bracing provides sufficient breaking load protection for eight to ten years. Then it must be replaced.
When nothing else helps
Sick or too weak trees must be felled. You should hire arboricultural specialists to do this. Especially if the garden (or around it) is cramped. If possible, cut the tree in one piece and limb it at ground level. If this is not possible with respect to the surroundings, the tree is lopped standing up and cut piece by piece. The individual pieces are roped down with release ropes, possibly requiring a crane or even a helicopter. Regardless of how the tree is felled, the tree stump or rootstock must be cleared to below the grown terrain with a stump grinder at the end.
Planting new trees
Of course, arboricultural specialists not only maintain and fell trees, they also plant them. This includes advice on possible locations, useful tree species and their susceptibility to diseases and pests. In addition, arboricultural specialists take care of the growth, young trees and pruning so that the tree grows properly, and explain to you how to promote tree growth. For example, with fertilizers, site improvements through soil aeration, irrigation systems or the growth-promoting design of the root areas.