Lush, green trees add more than just visual interest to residential properties. In many cases, they offer cooling shade from the sun, or when planted as a windbreak, they can create a protective zone to buffer the home from harsh winds and weather. Some varieties even offer a tasty bonus by providing food in the form of nuts or fruit. Left unattended, however, trees can experience uneven growth, insect infestations or damage that can affect their overall health and leave them looking shaggy and unattractive. If you are a new homeowner who would like to make sure that the trees in your yard stay both healthy and beautiful, the following seasonal care tips will help.
Spring is the time when trees put forth tremendous energy in the form of budding leaves, flowers and new growth. For homeowners, spring is a great time to clear away debris from the winter that might harbor or promote fungal or blight issues, such as accumulations of fallen leaves, twigs and decaying fruit,
It is also a great time to apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to help suppress weeds, retain moisture and limit abrasions from lawn equipment throughout the upcoming growing season. When mulching to protect the base of the tree, choose bark or gravel to allow good drainage and help reduce the formation of cankers.
Once the new growth of spring becomes the lush foilage of summer, homeowners will want to ensure their trees receive adequate moisture and remain free of insects that can damage them, such as beetles, borers and worms.
While healthy trees are usually capable of obtaining the water they need through their root systems, trees in very dry climates or in areas that are experiencing abnomormally low levels of precipitation may require supplemental moisture. Remember that trees that are actively fruiting, newly planted or undergoing some type of stress may require additional moisture. When watering, refrain from applying water directly to the trunk of the tree where excess moisture might encourage fungal issues and disease. Instead, irrigate farther away from the trunk, but still well within the tree's canopy.
In addition to dealing with falling leaves, autumn tree care duties include clearing away dropped fruit and preparing trees to handle the stress of the upcoming winter weather. Young or newly planted trees may not yet have developed the deep root system they need to maintain health. These trees can benefit from the addition of a protective mulch layer over the area where the roots are developing. Good choices for this mulch are natural materials like yard compost, leaf matter, straw or wood chips that will insulate the root system as well as add nutrients to the soil. When applying mulch in the fall, refrain from piling it directly around the base of the tree where it might provide cover for rodent activities that will harm the tree, such as nibbling on the bark.
The arrival of winter is the perfect time for homeowners to visually evaluate their trees. With no leaves to obscure the view, homeowners can easily spot potential problems, such as storm or lightning damage, abrnormal growth issues and signs of other problems such as winter drought and cold stress. Because the surrounding vegetation is also dying or becoming dormant, homeowners should also be watchful for signs of deer, rabbit and rodent damage as these animals turn their attention to the bark of tender, young trees for part of their diet.
Winter is also the best time for trimming broken branches, removing dead or diseased portions of the tree or improving the shape of the tree. Since it is important to understand the growth patterns and potential issues that can be caused by trimming a tree incorrectly, it is wise to seek the assistance of a skilled, professional tree trimming company in your area before taking action.