Fall Tree Care Checklist
With summertime coming to an end, your trees and plants need time to recover from the summer heat and prepare for the upcoming winter weather. Extended periods of extreme heat weakens trees, making them more susceptible to pest infestations and disease as well as more vulnerable to harsh winter conditions. Use the following list to help prepare your trees and plants as they head into winter.
It’s important to visually inspect your trees for evidence of pests, mold or other diseases. Signs to look out for include black or brown spots on the leaves or early leaf drop before they turn color. Any sign of disease or pests should be addressed by a certified arborist as soon as possible to protect the health and integrity of your trees. If neglected, disease and infestations quickly compromise the health and integrity of your tree.
Remove Dead Leaves and Fallen Trees
Disease causing fungi love to hide under tree branches and leaves. When the weather starts to warm in spring rain drops awaken the overwintering spores allowing them to reinfection the tree. Raking these leaves & removing them will limit your tree’s chances of contracting a disease or being re-infected. If you have a fallen tree on your property it’s important get it removed before the winter months. It can be dangerous so be sure to get professional assistance and stay safe.
Plant New Trees
Generally, late August, September and October are the best months to plant new trees .The cooler temperature of the soil creates the perfect conditions for the root systems of shrubs and trees to grow and develop before becoming dormant for the winter. Some examples of tress that can be successfully planted in the fall include alder, ash, buckeye, catalpa, crabapple, hackberry, hawthorn, honey locust, elm, Kentucky coffee tree, linden, maple, sycamore, pines, and spruces.
Mulching insulates a tree’s roots helping protect it from the approaching cold of late fall and winter. It also helps the soil retain moisture and organic matter. Think of mulch as a blanket for your plants, shrubs, and ornamental trees. Mulch creates a barrier between the harsh cold and surface snow. By insulating the root system, it keeps the temperature much warmer. Mulch is most effective when it is piled around the base of the tree and 2-3 inches deep.
Fall is a good time to feed your trees. Just like people need a balance of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins, plants need “food” in the form of fertilizer. Without proper fertilization, trees and shrubs may not grow well, the leaves may turn light green, and the plants may not produce many flowers or fruit. Be aware that different types of plants and trees have different fertilizer needs. Trees and shrubs which should not be fertilized include newly planted specimens and those with severe root damage from recent trenching or construction. The root systems of these plants will need to re-establish before fertilizers are applied.
Fall is an important season for your trees. From September through December, trees experience some of their most dramatic growth as twigs, branches and roots begin collecting and storing the critical food reserves needed for the next growing season. By applying some of these fall tree care tips your trees can be beautiful and healthy year-round.
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