Tree Maintenance

As with all aspects of home maintenance, your trees and shrubs are no exception.  Tree maintenance often comprises things you can do yourself, but sometimes you need to bring in an expert such as Crosscut Treework to give you advice or help.

Crosscut Treework are certified Advanced Arborists and are qualified to do tree reports and identification of problems with trees

Bracket fungi

It’s good to become familiar with bracket or shelf fungi.  They live on dead or rotting wood and are a good sign that your tree needs either pruning or removal.

Crosscut Treework are able to identify signs that your tree is in need of tree removal

Bracket fungi grow on dead and rotting wood and are a sign that your tree needs attention


Deadwooding is a maintenance task that involves either reducing or removing unhealthy or dangerous sections of  branches.  Dead wood in a tree can mean that the tree is in real trouble so if you see this you should get some advice.

Look for homeowner tips for how to identify deadwood on our tree removal page.

Pests and diseases

There are a number of common tree diseases in NZ, both soil and air borne diseases as well as insect invasion.  Most species have their own peculiar diseases or parasites so it can be useful to get an expert in if you notice root related issues or rotting.

Crosscut Treework are able to identify and report on pests and disease prevention and tree maintenance

Phytothera is a fungus like pathogen known as a water mould.

Phytophthora causes extensive damage and death to a wide range of trees and other plants.
Soil disruption
Excavation in or around tree roots, or from animals disrupting the soil, especially with young trees can cause issues later in the tree’s life.  Trees are very slow to react and it can take up to 10 years after a major disruption before there is significant dieback.  Be on the lookout for any major changes to soil around the tree roots.
Trees with a split trunk
Sometimes trees grow with what is called included bark – some of the bark that surrounds a growing trunk becomes ingrown and as the trunk comes out of the ground, it splits into two main trunks.  With early maintenance you can avoid a mature tree that will have poorly attached growth and may become dangerous.
Included bark or split trunks may become unstable and dangerous. Crosscut Treework can help you with a maintenance plan to minimise damage to your tree or property.

Included bark on this tree has caused the main trunk to split into two

Young trees

When a tree is young, for the first 10-20 years, it is very good to do formative pruning every 2-3 years.  A qualified arborist will help with tree maintenance in getting rid of crossing branches, deadwood, treatment or removal of diseased branches, so that the tree forms a good and healthy shape for the rest of its life.

It is a good idea to take a walk around your property after a storm or high winds and check for broken branches or damage to the trunks.  This badly storm damaged trunk needed urgent tree maintenance and assessment.  It was endangering nearby buildings and was removed.

Homeowner tree maintenance list
  • Look out for pests and diseases on trees and talk to an arborist for advice on issues you’ve found.  It’s a good idea to take a photo and send that through with your observations.
  • Don’t worry about moss or lichen.  They are completely natural, something that grows naturally in damp or wet areas.  Moss or lichen will not damage your tree, and neither will small ferns growing out of your tree.  
  • Do take care with maintenance of vines.  Vines that grow from the base of the tree up it will strangle and eventually kill the tree.  Cut vines off at the base, poison the stump of the vine and cut it about a metre up the tree and let it die and it will eventually fall out of the tree.  Always take care when using poisons to follow the safety instructions and be aware of children and pets.
  • Plan gardens around trees carefully.  Even though it seems as though there is plenty of sun under a tree, you’ll be best to choose shade loving plants under a tree.  You won’t be able to grow anything that needs full sun. 
  • Mulch your trees regularly.  It’s a good idea having mulch around the base of the trees instead of lawn, because you don’t want to accidentally ringbark and cause your tree to die by an accidental swipe with with the lawnmower or weedeater, plus mulch is good for soil health and reduces the need for watering.