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Regular Tree Maintenance Ideas

Beautiful fall foliage is the result of fastidious tree care. While we’re still at the height of summer, a fall tree care plan is essential to ensure your trees thrive in the fall and are ready for winter. This article will tell you what tree care you should do from September through November.

Prepare Your Trees Roots With Fertilizer

An essential component to keeping your trees healthy is by fertilizing them. Fertilizing in the autumn helps protect trees from winter damage. While trees in nature have an abundance of nutrients available in the soil, trees in urban and suburban settings face high-stress conditions. These conditions include lack of available moisture,  compression, physical damage, and construction. We also remove nutrients when we rake away leaves, twigs, and fall bark, which would have decomposed over time and fed the tree roots. Trees in these environments will not reach their complete potential, die sooner, and are more susceptible to diseases and insects. A tree maintenance routine that diminishes these stressful conditions is essential. In addition to regular tree trimming, proper fertilizing is one of your best defenses.

Rake To Remove Fallen Tree Leaves

Always rake fallen and dead leaves away from your trees. Fungi, which cause tree disease, overwinter and hide in fallen leaves. In the spring, as the weather warms, rain causes the dormant spores to revive, allowing them to re-infect your trees. Fastidiously raking and removing fallen leaves will limit the possibility of your trees being infected (or re-infected) with diseases caused by fungi.

Plant New Trees During Fall

While saplings are usually on display at nurseries in the spring, it is better to plant new trees in the fall. The new trees are less likely to die from drought or sun scorch in fall’s cooler temperatures.

Mulch

Applying mulch around the base of your trees helps to insulate their roots. This insulating effect helps to protect the roots from the oncoming cold of late fall and winter. Additionally, mulch aids in the soil’s retention of organic matter and moisture. Mulching around your trees is one of the quickest and most cost-effective techniques you can employ for your trees’ health. Especially for young trees, mulching provides innumerable benefits.

How To Apply Mulch

Size: The best mulching goes as far as the tree’s drip line. Since this isn’t usually However, this isn’t practical for homeowners with larger trees,  apply the mulch in a 2- to a 3-foot radius around the tree instead.

Depth: Approximately 2-4 inches

  • Don’t pile the mulch against the tree trunk. Keep it away from the trunk so the root flare zone is visible.
  • To refresh the mulch’s look, lightly rake the top layers of the mulch, or simply remove the old mulch and replace it.
  • Don’t layer new mulch on top of the old mulch.
  • Don’t use fresh wood chips for mulching around young trees. New wood chips have higher acidity and can injure young trees.

Water to Trees To Keep Them Hydrated

The summer heat may have passed, but your trees can still suffer from drought stress in cooler months. Make sure your trees are watered to keep them hydrated.

Tree Watering Tips For Fall:

  • Concentrate on the pivotal root region when you’re watering. Getting the foliage wet is unnecessary and can help spread disease.
  • DON’T use a sprinkler. Sprinklers only wet the top layer of soil and don’t correctly water the trees.
  • Water in the morning prevents vaporization (evaporation) and helps trees stay hydrated all day.
  • Water thoroughly and deeply once or twice a week.
  • Put a garden hose somewhere in the critical root zone.
  • Turn the hose to just a trickle.
  • Leave the hose in place for around 2-3 hours.
  • Move the hose to a different site in the root zone and leave for another 2-3 hours. Then repeat another 1-3 times until the root zone is fully hydrated. How many times will depend on the size of the tree’s critical root zone.
  • The earth should be wet but not drenched. You should not have mud.
  • It’s fine for some areas of the soil to be wet and some to be dry.

If you need help with fall tree care, you can always call Long Island Lumberjack at (631) 212-8250. Dave and the rest of the crew will be more than happy to come out and give you an assessment of what your trees need to weather the winter.

Treat With Anti-Desiccants

Most of the adverse effects of winter stem from trees and shrubs losing moisture through the pores on their leaves/needles. During the winter, the dry air and the wind speed up this effect leading to leaves increasing their water demand from the roots to survive. However, the root system usually has difficulty keeping pace with these demands. The result is the leaves and needles turn brown and die. This unfortunate cycle is called “desiccation” or “winter burn.”

Making anti-desiccant treatments part of your tree care plan for winter can end this malignant cycle. Anti-desiccants add a protective wax coating to the foliage, reducing moisture loss. Like skin moisturizers, anti-desiccants provide trees and shrubs with the necessary protection to flourish during winter. Without anti-desiccants, the trees would have to fight to survive. And aesthetically speaking, this also means lush evergreens rather than brown and dying trees!

Prune Deadwood

Diseased, dying, or dead wood or branches are dangerous to people and property. These limbs often break and fall during fall and winter storms.  Ensure these branches are pruned as part of your fall tree care to avoid accidents and for your family’s and your home’s safety. Since deadwood can often be hard to see, give Long Island Lumberjack a call. We’ll come out and give your trees a thorough inspection, find any hidden deadwood, and cut it away to help avoid accidents.We discuss detecting and removing deadwood, along with other trimming and pruning issues, in an earlier Lumberjack Tales. post, Signs That It’s Time To Have Your Trees Trimmed Or Pruned.

Cable Your Trees (If Needed)

Tree cabling uses cables to stabilize a tree’s physical structure in cases where it can no longer support its weight. Cabling cannot be used to keep unhealthy, dying trees from falling apart. Instead, cabling assists healthy but oddly shaped or slightly injured trees to maintain their structural integrity during heavy winds or storms.

Inspect Trees Annually

When leaves are off the tree, late fall is an excellent time for inspection. Inspections can spot structural issues that could be dangerous. Long Island Lumberjack can do an annual assessment for you to keep your tree care stress-free.