August 13, 2019

7 Tips for Summer Tree Care

Summer tree pruning

Summer in north Georgia is in full effect, and that means a number of things for your yard, especially the trees within your yard. And, summer tree care is critical to make sure they can withstand weather events year-round.

You may think less about your trees in the summer, as it’s the one season during which there is little outward change – i.e. no leaves turning and falling or ice and snow to threaten the branches, or even spring buds blooming. That said, summer storms can certainly pose a threat to your trees. And it is important to maintain and continue tree care throughout the summer, as it will help ensure a healthier plant during the other months of the year.

With that in mind, here’s 7 summer tree care steps you can take to help keep your trees healthy and happy through the summer and into fall.

Aerate the Soil

Soil management is important in maintaining the health of your trees, as their roots extend and draw nutrients through and from the soil. Compacted soil can deny oxygen, water and other nutrients to your tree’s root system. Aerating the ground loosens the soil and helps deliver needed elements to your trees’ root systems.

Water Your Trees When Necessary

Trees need an average of one inch of water per week, even more if the tree is young or recently planted. And during the hotter, drier months of summer, it may even be necessary to water your trees. If you do have to water, do so with larger amounts 1-2 times a week, as this method promotes root growth better than constant, smaller amounts. Do not use a sprinkler, as this only wets the surface and does not penetrate to the root system, where your trees need the water. Water around the root system, enough to make the ground wet, but not enough to turn it into mud. Also, water in the morning to help avoid evaporation.

Keep Mulching

Spring is typically the time of year for mulching, but that does not mean it is the only season of the year to put down mulch. If you either missed the opportunity, or if you find your trees in need of extra mulch, then, by all means, add more mulch. Mulching helps prevent weeds, which compete with your trees for nutrients and water, maintain ground moisture and helps regulate soil temperatures (a big plus during the hotter months). It is important not to apply mulch to the base of the tree, however, as this promotes disease and insect infestation. But you should mulch all around the base of the tree with 3-4 inches of shredded hardwood mulch.

Check for Pests and Other Problems

Magnolia scale, Japanese beetles, aphids, bagworms and spider mites are all active during the summer, and catching these destructive critters early can mean a big difference in the health of your trees. This is not just a summer pursuit – always be on the lookout for potential issues. And you can learn a lot more about the trees and local ecology by simply contacting your local county extension office.


It is important to keep trees fed with fertilizer all year round, especially those trees growing in high-stress environments, such as urban or even suburban landscapes.


You normally want to prune trees during their dormant period (winter for most trees). But there are also occasions when summer pruning is a good idea. First off, any time you recognize diseased, dead or dying limbs it is absolutely correct to trim them in the summer. Also, trees that flower in the spring are best pruned in early summer – basically as soon as they finish blooming. This includes trees like magnolia, flowering cherry and lilac. Pruning can be dangerous when considering height and branch size, so please call a professional for larger jobs.

Preventing Summer Storm Damage

Removing any damaged limbs, especially larger ones, can be a huge aid to your trees during the stormy summer months. It is also possible to brace trees or even cable them together to strengthen them against high winds. These are all jobs that should be undertaken by a professional arborist. And while it may seem extreme, it could definitely be worth the effort when a powerful thunderstorm is barreling down on your property.

Follow these tips, and you help ensure happier, healthier trees – and less worry for you as you go about the rest of your summer.