It may seem hard to believe, but you need to start preparing your trees for cooler weather now. Yes, it is still 90-plus degrees outside, but that will not last forever (we hope!), and, before you know it, we’ll be moving toward colder weather. And cooler weather demands fall tree care for your yard.
With that in mind, here’s a look at what you need in order to ensure your trees are at their healthiest during the fall months – and fully prepped for winter.
You think you’re hot? Your trees are feeling the heat even worse. Being out in that brutal sun with no air conditioned retreat means you need to give them all the help you can, and that starts with mulching. Mulch not only helps your tree’s root system retain water, it also helps insulate in the colder months and cools the tree in the hotter months. Be sure to use natural mulch and spread a thin layer in a diameter of three feet around the truck of the tree. But do not mulch all the way up to the trunk – leave a small diameter (mere centimeters) of mulch-free ground near the base.
We’ve already pointed out the fact that hot, dry weather stresses your tree. This causes them to pull nutrients from the surrounding soil. Cold, wet weather has the same effect on your trees. The result is denuded soil that is lacking in nutrients essential to the health of your tree. You can improve your soil condition by applying a slow-release fertilizer. This will help your tree to resist extreme weather, disease and pests.
Hot, dry weather is tough on your trees (yes, we know we sound like a broken record, but it IS important). Another great way to help your trees combat that is by giving them a good drink of water. This will help them avoid drying out while also staying hearty for the cooler days ahead. The best way to water your tree is via concentrated, targeted sessions. This is not like watering a lawn, where you spread the liquid over a wide range. With trees, you want enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 10 inches or more. This is because trees drink from their roots. That doesn’t mean you have to water forever. For instance, you can poke a hole in the soil with a long screwdriver and water straight into that hole.
Despite the fact that so many trees drop their leaves in the fall, this season is actually a great time to plant. This is because the weather is cooling off, and there is less of a chance of stress from the scorching sun or from a summer drought. Planting in fall allows trees to grow before the stresses of winter descend.
Once the weather does finally turn, you know that colder weather is on its way. With that in mind, prep your trees for the possibility of snow and ice – which will add weight and pressure to the branches and certainly snap any weakened limbs. The good news is that once the leaves fall, you can get a better look at the limbs of your tree in order to determine which are weakest. Once you have assessed your trees, determine whether the branch in question is small enough to prune. If it is not you may want to consider cabling or bracing the limb in order to prevent breakage. Cabling is not always a simple task, and it is always a good idea to consult a tree care professional when it comes to cabling or bracing.
Follow these fall tree care tips, and you’re guaranteed to have much fewer worries and much happier trees come winter and beyond.