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Tree Care Guide

Tree trunk base with mulch and green grass

Proper tree care begins when you select a tree for your property.  Researching and understanding the types of trees that will thrive in your environment are an excellent way to begin the process.  Once you have chosen your trees, everything you do in the first few years to plant, grow and maintain them will determine their shape, strength and lifespan.

Horhut Tree Experts, a local tree company specializing is quality tree care in Pittsburgh, recommends the following steps to kick start a healthy tree life.

Choosing the Right Type for the Right Place

Not all trees are going to do well in all conditions.  Therefore, it is important that you choose the ones that will last a lifetime and require little maintenance.  Before you select your trees, consider the following:
Purpose – Are you looking to provide shade or energy reduction?  Are you planting it for solely aesthetics? Do you need multiple trees to provide privacy?
Site Conditions – Choosing a tree that will thrive in a given set of conditions is key to long-term tree survival. When selecting the intended location for planting, think about the following:
  • soil conditions
  • weather exposure
  • drainage
  • space constraints
  • hardiness zone
  • insect and disease susceptibility

Selecting a Healthy Tree

When shopping for trees to plant, you will find they come in one of three ways: bare-root seedlings, balled and burlapped or container-grown.  For each type, here is what you need to look for to ensure your tree is off to a healthy start.
Bare-Root Seedlings
  • Moist and fibrous roots
  • For deciduous seedlings, the roots should be about equal to stem length
Balled and Burlapped Trees
  • The root ball should be firm to the touch, especially close to the trunk
  • The root ball should be adequate for the tree’s size
Container-Grown Trees
  • Should have tightly joined soil and roots
  • Container should not have large, circling roots
  • If pruned, roots should be cut clean with none wider than a finger

Planting your Trees

Some things to look out for when planting the following types:
Bare-Root Seedlings
  • As you unpack the seedlings, carefully untangle the roots and soak them in water for 3 to 6 hours. Do not allow the roots to dry out.
  • Dig a wide hole, so that the roots can grow outward without crowding.
  • Plant at the same depth as it stood in the nursery.
Balled and Burlapped Trees
  • Dig a saucer-shaped hole 2 or 3 times as wide and as deep as the root ball.
  • Root collar should be at or a little above ground level.
  • Handle the tree by the root ball, not the trunk.
  • Once positioned, use wire cutters to cut vertically up the side of the wire basket.  Remove all rope and twine from the ball and all nails that are holding the burlap.
Container-Grown Trees
  • Dig a hole 3 to 4 times wider than the container.
  • Gently remove tree from the container—keeping the soil around the roots intact.
  • Avoid planting the tree too deep.  The root flare at the base of the trunk should be slightly above ground level.


Mulch helps to conserve moisture and suppress weeds while providing a finished look around the tree.  Do not to apply mulch against the trunk, as it will cause disease and issues with insects.  Apply natural mulch—such as wood chips or bark pieces—a few inches from the base of the trunk and extend to the drip line—about four inches deep around your tree in a donut shape.


Newly planted trees require deep watering (4-6 inches below the surface) one to two times per week to promote better root growth.  As trees grow, you can use more water less often, but typically trees need about one inch of water per week.  If possible, try to water your trees in the morning to avoid evaporation.


The type of tree you have will determine the appropriate time to prune. Typically, the majority of pruning is done in the spring. Flowering trees that bloom in the spring are best pruned in early summer when their flowers fade.  Trees with diseased or damaged branches should be taken care of as soon as possible. To ensure your trees are properly pruned, hire a professional tree care service in Pittsburgh, such as Horhut Tree Experts.

Expert Tree Care Provided by Certified Arborists in Pittsburgh

Tree care is important, not only to your landscape but also to the environment.  At Horhut Tree Experts in Pittsburgh, we have certified arborists and board-certified master arborists that can help you maintain healthy trees.  Our team is continuously being trained and educated on the latest trends and findings in tree care.  If you need assistance caring for your trees, call Horhut Tree Experts at 412-855-2703. We will provide the highest quality tree care service to your Pittsburgh property.
Jaime Horhut