As homeowners, you’ve put a lot of time, money and energy into creating your little bit of heaven so that you have an outdoor space where you can relax with your family and friends. But what happens to your landscaping in the fall and winter season?
Fall tree care is imperative to the longevity and vitality of your landscaping. It’s a great time for preventative care and routine maintenance. Here are a few ways to give your trees a little TLC:
Moisture: Water is the most important aspect of keeping a tree alive. Too much and you will drown the root system by pushing all the air out of the soil, rotting the roots, and ultimately causing death. Too little and you will send the tree in to a state of stress going into Winter. Be sure to send plants into Winter with plenty of moisture in the soil prior to the first freeze.
Inspections: Tree inspections should be conducted multiple times a year. Inspections can be very tedious with many aspects to consider such as identifying dead or dying branches, crossing branches, and overall structure of the canopy. Below are four characteristics to observe to determine your tree’s vigor:
- New leaves and buds
- Leaf size
- Twig growth
- Crown dieback
- Note any abnormalities and monitor the progress of those issues. If you’re ever uncertain, call a certified arborist.
Mulching: Tree mulching provides trees with a stable root environment by providing insulation from fluctuating temperatures and helps to retain moisture. Mulch also reduces competition from grass and weeds. The mulch layer should be two to four inches deep and comprised of loosely packed organic matter such as shredded leaves, wood chips or peat moss. Be sure to not place against the trunk as this can promote rotting and entice insects to attack
Fertilization: Fertilizer is best utilized in the fall or spring and distributes three major nutrients to the tree: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as well as other minor nutrients. Keep in mind that not all fertilizer mixtures are made the same; consider the type of tree, region you are in and pH levels when searching for a fertilizer. Consult with a certified arborist before applying fertilizers to your tree.
Pruning: Tree pruning in Colorado is best done in the late fall to winter when arborists are able to observe the full shape and health of the tree. Because trees are dormant during this time, it minimizes the spread of common tree diseases. Pruning, while beneficial, must be done correctly to ensure no further harm is done to the tree. When limbs are cut incorrectly, the likelihood of diseases and damage are greatly increased. Removing a large branch requires three cuts:
- Create an undercut between one to two feet from the branch collar
- Cut through the branch about 1 inch behind the initial cut to remove the branch leaving behind a nub
- Cut through, approximately 1 inch from the branch collar, to remove the nub
This process will be slightly varied, depending on the tree’s species, age and size. Consult with an arborist before making any severe changes to your tree. Refer to our Guide to Tree Pruning for more tips.
From a tree’s perspective, the Fall and Winter season can be a very difficult time – with freezes starting as early as October, limb-breaking snowfall, and winds reaching 100 mph. Fall tree care is important: from ensuring that you are giving the tree the proper amount of nutrients, to removing damaging limbs and sufficient watering. There is a myriad of seemingly complex ways to properly care for a tree and give it the love it needs. If you are ever uncertain of your tree’s requirements, or if you are looking for professional tree pruning in Colorado Springs please contact our certified arborist.