The fall season is the season of transformation where the green foliage turns to rust, shades of orange, glittering gold, and all the shades in between. It’s also a sign that tells you winter is near and prepares your trees for the upcoming cold season so they can thrive and bloom during spring. You can care for your trees yourself or search for “tree service near me” and hire professionals to do it for you. Let’s check out how you can keep trees healthy this fall:
- Fall fertilization – During the fall season, fallen leaves and other organic matter falls to the ground and the tree loses nutrients. That organic matter breaks down and releases nutrients back into the soil for the tree to absorb. However, homeowners like to keep their yards clean and free from dead leaves. That’s why you need to add nutrients to the soil to make sure your trees can get those lost nutrients.
Applying a slow-release fertilizer should get the job done. Slow-release fertilizers try to mimic nature by slowly releasing nutrients to the ground in limited amounts throughout several seasons. This helps the trees to grow leaves, roots, and wood consistently as the seasons change.
- Re-mulch – Never opt for plastic sheet mulch. While they are inexpensive, the drawbacks are plenty. They do nothing more than insulate the ground. Instead, organic mulch helps your tree thrive. Apart from preventing soil temperature fluctuations, it also provides the soil resistance against erosion and compaction and pumps it full of nutrients over time.
Your mix of mulch may be made from wood chips, weed-free straws, ground-up leaves, and other such organic matter. Cover around the base of the tree with a couple of inches of mulch. Overdoing it will cause problems. It’s also important to mulch at least a couple of inches away from the base of the tree to prevent the bark from rotting away.
- Limit irrigation – You need to irrigate your soil during the warm and dry seasons. However, during fall the soil stays moist and trees need less water. Trees also start going dormant to survive through the harsh winter and that’s why they need a very limited amount of supplemental water.
That’s why you need to reduce or completely stop irrigation during the fall season. Otherwise, it would flood the soil, suffocate the roots and make the tree more susceptible to diseases. If the soil gets too wet, it also freezes up quicker during the winter and has a lower temperature that may be beyond the tree’s tolerance level.
- Tree pruning – The fall season is the perfect time to prune your trees. You need to do this to keep your home, property, and family members safe and also to influence the shape and structure of the tree.
Identify and trim down dead and weak branches so that they don’t break due to the added weight of the snow in the winter season. Check for diseased and damaged limbs close to the trunk and cut them clean without leaving a stub. Any exposed wound would heal itself before the first frost. If your tree is too tall or has too large branches, you can get help from a professional.
- Support weak limbs – If there are a few large, unstable and weak limbs on your tree, they need some extra help to make it through the season and the upcoming harsh cold. You can use cabling and bracing techniques to support those limbs. The cabling provides extra support for vulnerable limbs and also reduces stress and strain that may result in cracks and damage. It also prevents dangerous situations like the limbs breaking off due to strong winds or the weight of snow in winter.
- Water evergreens – While you need to reduce irrigation during the fall season, that holds for deciduous trees and other such trees that go dormant in the cold season. On the other hand, if you have evergreen trees on your property, you need to hydrate them enough so that they can make it through the winter season when water freezes up.
During the winter, the roots are frozen, and evergreens may experience heavy loss of water from their needles. That’s why you need to supply them with an ample amount of water till the arrival of winter. Make sure that the soil remains moist and not saturated. It’s best if you can water for a long time and less often so that the water reaches deep into the ground and makes the roots reach deeper.
- Inspect for diseases – This part is very tricky for homeowners who don’t have years of experience under their belt. You need to inspect your trees carefully for pests’ infestation and diseases and that can be very difficult since they look quite similar at different stages of development.
You also need to know the right care for a specific disease and insect that is infesting the tree. This can result in a lot of googling and wasting time on the internet or asking your neighbors. It’s best to leave this task to professionals. Hire a local arborist who has the knowledge and trained eyes to identify a pest problem or tree diseases and knows how to eliminate them.
- Mushrooms – Fall is a season that is ripe with mushroom activity. You need to pay close attention to the mushrooms growing at the base of your tree. Some varieties can attack and decay roots and prevention is the best way to avoid this problem. Prevent overwatering, protect your tree from mechanical damage and maintain soil organic matter and avoid soil compaction to encourage healthy microbial activity.
While fall is a great time to care for trees, it’s also the perfect time to plant new trees and shrubs on your property. The roots can get established in the moist and cool soil and get a boost in growth when the snow melts. If fall care seems too tiresome, you can search for “tree service near me” and hire professionals to do it for you.