January 27, 2020 /
Jona Elwell

Mature Tree Care

A mature tree provides value to your home and street. It shades and cools the air, reduces energy consumption, removes pollutants, and adds beauty to your neighborhood.

Older trees require less active maintenance than newly planted trees. A well-established tree will usually remain healthy in the absence of major stressors such as drought, construction, pests, or disease. It is important to notice changes and know how to respond.


As your tree ages, it may become necessary to prune branches in order to maintain the tree’s health and structure, and the safety of people and property around it. Winter is a great time to assess and complete pruning work as the structure of the tree is best visible without leaves. 

Casey Trees is now offering tree pruning services this winter on a first-come; first-served basis. The best part? 100% of the funds made through pruning or any tree service go right back into planting trees in the District! 

Inquire about Casey Trees pruning and other services here!

While most homeowners are capable of pruning young trees by hand, more extensive work should be handled by qualified tree care professionals. 

Basic Care 

Water: In times of drought, established trees can benefit from additional watering. Unlike grass, trees prefer longer, more infrequent watering sessions. One easy technique is to set a garden hose to trickle water for several hours.

Mulch: A wide, shallow (< 3 inch), ring of mulch will improve the soil around the tree and reduces competition from other vegetation. Mulch can be reapplied annually each spring or fall. Keep mulch away from the base of the trunk.

Construction Protection: Construction is a major source of mature tree decline and death – either by direct damage to roots or by changing site conditions (e.g. soil compaction, soil depth). Before beginning any construction projects, consult with an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist to determine the possible impacts to your tree and the best ways to protect it.

Monitoring Tree Health: Observation is the best way to catch problems early. Become familiar with your tree’s normal appearance through the seasons. Call an arborist if you notice any unusual changes.

Street Trees

For many of us, the trees that we see most frequently are planted along the streets outside our homes.

In the District, street trees are managed by the Urban Forestry Division of the District Department of Transportation.  If you notice trees that need to be inspected, pruned or removed by a city arborist, call 311 or go to You can also request a tree if you see possible planting locations.

Additional Resources

  • Download Mature Tree Care Brochure
  • 311: Submit tree planting, pruning, removal, and inspection requests.
  • U.S. Forest Service Tree Manual: Downloadable publication with in-depth tree care information.
  • ASCA: The American Society of Consulting Arborists can help you find an arborist to objectively evaluate your tree.
  • ISA: Tree owner information and an arborist directory are available from the International Society of Arboriculture.For any and all of your mature tree care needs, make sure that the company you select is a properly licensed, insured, and has an ISA Certified Arborist on staff. Certified Arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care (more info on Certified Arborists if you need or want it). We recommend going to to find quality ISA-Certified arborists in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.