These Things Might be Hurting Your Trees

December 15, 2020

Trees are often seen as indestructible, especially when they’re large oak or maple trees. But trees are living things, and there are many things that can harm them. Knowing what can hurt trees and how certain things affect them can be incredibly important heading into winter when there is a greater chance of storms. Winter is also the season for tree trimming; which, when done incorrectly can impact the health of the tree.

If you have established trees in your landscape, read through this list of things that might hurt the trees so that you can avoid doing anything to them, and be aware of other naturally occurring things that could harm them. If you have any questions about tree maintenance or want a professional tree service to examine or trim your trees, get in touch with the team at Apex Tree Experts in Tacoma, Washington.

Poor Pruning Techniques

As mentioned above, pruning or trimming a tree incorrectly can have a significant impact on the health of the tree. When done in the wrong season, the wrong branches are cut, or too many branches are cut, it can affect the growth of the tree, leave it susceptible to insects or disease, or even cause it to die. When done correctly tree trimming can encourage growth and an overall beautifully shaped tree.

Too Much Fertilization

Fertilization can be beneficial, especially for younger trees just starting out or if the soil quality is poor, but over fertilizing can lead to a host of problems. Adding too much fertilizer can cause unhealthy growth, it can “burn” the soil, cause brown or rotting roots, and more. If you believe you need to add fertilizer to a tree, get in touch with a tree service who can provide professional advice. Oftentimes, tree fertilizers are injected into the soil and slowly released.

Root Damage

Roots are the lifeline of trees so if they are damaged, it will impact how the tree receives nutrients. Root damage can occur in a variety of ways, and because tree roots are often as wide as the tree is tall, activity doesn’t have to happen near the tree in order to cause damage. The roots can be disturbed if you dig too deep in a garden bed around the tree, if there is construction around the property, or compacted soil can prevent water and air from reaching the roots.


Insects like ants may not cause damage because they are simply on the surface of the tree. Insects like bark beetles or boring insects can affect the tree because they make holes in the bark. If you begin to notice holes in the bark, piles of sawdust-like material on the ground, splitting bark, or if the canopy of the tree begins to die back, consult with a tree service for the best course of action.

Hanging Items From the Tree

Insects aren’t the only things that can penetrate the bark of a tree. Hanging items like bird feeders, lights, or decorations, especially when using nails or screws, can affect the health of the tree. When any type of hole occurs in the tree, it’s more susceptible to insects and disease.


Weeds and pests are a nuisance, but how you treat them will make a big difference in the health of trees and other foliage in your landscape. Chemicals from herbicides or pesticides will leach into the soil and could reach the tree roots. Consider using organic products to treat for pests or weeds, or apply a layer of mulch to prevent weeds from growing in the first place. When applying mulch, leave about six inches of space between the tree trunk and where the mulch begins.

Staking a Tree

Staking, or guying, a tree can be done to protect younger trees from harsh winds, but it’s important to be careful to not add too much support, add it correctly, and only for a short amount of time. When the wrong material is used or too much of a material is used, it can damage the bark of the tree. Supporting trees with staking for too long can cause a tree to become top-heavy.

Schedule an Inspection With Apex Tree Experts

If you have questions about the health of your trees, get in touch with the professionals at Apex Tree Experts. We are located in Gig Harbor, but serve the greater Tacoma area. Give us a call today!