Tree myth about leaves.

Debunking Tree Myths: Common Misconceptions About Trees

When it comes to understanding trees and tree care, there’s a forest of misinformation out there. Let's clear up some of the myths!

Tackling the Tall Tales and Rooting Out the Truth

When it comes to understanding trees and tree care, there’s a forest of misinformation out there. Myths and misconceptions often spread faster than wildfire, leaving people confused and misinformed. In this article, we’ll be tackling some of the most common tree myths and offering scientific explanations to debunk them.

Myth 1: Trees Absorb Most of Their Nutrients from the Leaves

Tree myth about trimming.

The Truth: While leaves play a crucial role in photosynthesis, converting sunlight into sugars and oxygen, most of the tree’s nutrients actually come from the soil through the root system. It’s essential to maintain the quality of the soil in which trees grow to ensure their long-term health.

Myth 2: Pruning Should Always be Done in the Fall

The Truth: Contrary to popular belief, late winter or early spring is often the best time to prune most deciduous trees. Pruning in the fall can actually expose trees to fungal infections and diseases as they’re heading into the stressful winter months.

Myth 3: All Trees Need Deep Watering

The Truth: Different tree species have different water requirements. While some trees prefer deep watering, others might be well-suited for dry climates and require less frequent watering. Always understand the water needs of your specific tree to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot.

Tree myth about healing.

Myth 4: Trees Heal Themselves

The Truth: Trees don’t heal; they seal. When a tree is wounded, it generates callus tissue to seal off the damaged area, but the wound remains. Proper tree wound care, such as avoiding ragged cuts and treating exposed areas, can prevent diseases and infestations.

Myth 5: You Should Wrap Tree Trunks to Prevent Insects and Disease

The Truth: Wrapping a tree trunk may provide temporary relief from certain pests but may also trap moisture, creating a favorable environment for fungal diseases. It’s not a long-term solution for the prevention of insects or disease.

Myth 6: Native Trees Don’t Need Care

The Truth: Even native trees can become stressed due to changes in their environment, competition for nutrients, or the onset of diseases. Ongoing care is essential for every tree, regardless of its origins.

Myth 7: More Mulch is Always Better

Tree myth about mulch.

The Truth: Over mulching can suffocate a tree’s roots and prevent proper water absorption. It’s recommended to keep mulch depth between 2 to 4 inches and avoid piling it against the trunk.

Myth 8: All Dead Trees Should be Removed Immediately

The Truth: Dead trees can serve as essential habitats for various wildlife. However, if a dead tree poses a safety risk, then it should be removed. Consult an arborist to evaluate the best course of action.

Myth 9: Trees Don’t Need Fertilizers

The Truth: While trees do absorb nutrients from the soil, in some cases, additional fertilization may be necessary to supplement missing nutrients, especially in urban or depleted soils.

Myth 10: One Year Equals One Tree Ring

The Truth: In most cases, trees do produce one ring per year. However, in stressful conditions like drought or extreme temperatures, trees may produce more than one ring or none at all, making age determination more complicated.

Trees at Augusta National


It’s crucial to dispel myths and misinformation surrounding trees and tree care. The health of our trees is intertwined with the health of our environment. By rooting out these common misconceptions, we can make better decisions to safeguard the well-being of our leafy friends.

If you have questions about the care of your trees or are faced with issues that require professional intervention, don’t hesitate to contact Empire Tree. Our experts can provide the knowledge and services you need to keep your trees healthy and thriving.

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