Home Tree Care 101

Give Your Trees Some Love

boy hugging big tree

Increasing and maintaining tree canopies in Montgomery County is a priority for residents and the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). About 85% of Montgomery County’s tree canopy is on private residential or commercial property. Because of the importance of tree canopies in sustaining our communities, Conservation Montgomery and DEP have partnered to offer “Home Tree Care 101” workshops in neighborhoods throughout the county. Classes are held outdoors with hands-on demonstrations of tree trimming, mulching, and other tree house tips.

A long-term goal is to preserve the canopy of mature trees in Montgomery County by improving the maintenance of the largest trees, keeping these vital and beautiful workhorses of the environment.

How Does this Work?

A certified arborist will visit your community and walk with you and your neighbors. The arborist:
• Shows you how to plant and maintain new trees so that they thrive.
• Discusses native tree species and causes of disease.
• Demonstrates how to keep mature trees healthy so they live longer and so that the dangers of high winds are minimized.
• Provides you with an information packet summarizing what you’ve learned so you can plant and tend to your trees at home with confidence.

Home Tree Care classes are tailored to the interests of each neighborhood. Classes are held in the spring and fall on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and noon, but classes can last longer if residents desire. A fee of $20 per person is charged for the class. (Arborists typically more than $100 an hour for their services, making the Home Tree Care 101 class a cost-effective way to receive professional tree care advice.)

How Can My Neighborhood Enroll?

A homeowner first contacts neighbors to determine interest in a Home Tree Care 101 session. Once 15 or more people agree to participate in a class, fill out this short form to register your community. Conservation Montgomery will then contact you to schedule a workshop.

Meet Our Arborists

Arborist Andrés Ovalle inspecting tree

Andrés Ovalle

Andrés Ovalle teaches Home Tree Care to Montgomery residents in either Spanish or English — whichever a neighborhood prefers.

Andrés has a forestry engineering degree from the University of Chile, Santiago, and is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

For years, he worked in ecotourism, holding every position from naturalist to program director. Recently he led a local park activation program, engaging with communities and businesses and generating nature-based programs for diverse audiences.

Andrés values building community-oriented programs, environmental education and good communication. He loves hiking, kayaking and gardening with his family.

Arborist Jack Pond Headshot

Jack Pond

Home Tree Care 101 instructor Jack Pond is passionate about trees and their value in our public spaces. He is an ISA-certified arborist with a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification, and has 10 years of experience in arboriculture in both private and public sectors.

Jack was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Montgomery County. In his free time, he enjoys working in his garden growing fruits and vegetables with his family.

Hands holding tiny tree

Tree Care Tips

Homeowners in Montgomery County control a significant amount of our valuable tree canopy. Taking care of your trees will help them last longer and keep your family and neighbors safer from damage caused by falling branches and damaged trees.

Your trees are a valuable investment in the attractiveness and safety of your home. Here are some basic tips to help you protect the trees on your private property:

• Know the trees on your property. Learn what species they are and what characteristics those species have.
• Observe your trees from a distance and then closely to see if there are signs of decline and to assess whether pruning is necessary.
• Homeowners can prune lightly using hand trimmers, a lopper with a long handle, or a small pruning saw. If you think a chainsaw and ladder are necessary, you should probably call in a professional.
• The lifespan of a mature tree can be extended with proper maintenance. Pay attention to branches that are partially separated and hanging, cracked branches, cracked stems or branch forks, and contact with overhead power lines.
• Compare each of your trees to the same tree species elsewhere. Does your tree show signs of discoloration, such as in fall, but before a change in season? Are the branches or twigs dying? Is there wilting or burning of the leaves?

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