The first day of fall was Monday, Sept. 23, but that day doesn’t just mark the official end of summer. It means that many windy, rainy, cold, and snowy days are coming soon. As this new season begins, make sure your tree thrives in fall and is prepared for winter.
Trees need extra care to prepare for the cold winter months. So, the fall season is the perfect time to get it done. The chilly, icy weather in winter puts a lot of stress on trees, but following a few simple steps will help them make it through the long season. Here are a few ways you can keep your trees healthy this fall and through the winter!
With a hot summer and the dramatic change of a cold winter, trees are bound to lose vital nutrients in the soil. Mulch insulates tree roots in the winter months, acting almost like a blanket to keep your tree cozy. It also helps retain water and organic matter and reduce temperature extremes in the soil.
Take time this fall to nourish and replenish the soil around your trees. Applying a slow-release fertilizer will help make sure your trees gain nutrients lost this summer and continue to feed over the winter. The fertilizer will also improve your trees’ resistance to damage from disease, insects, and stressful weather.
Use The Changing Leaves
As the leaves change and fall, they can impact the health of your yard and trees. Leaving a layer of leaves on your lawn may suffocate your grass or create a breeding ground for diseases. So, you need to do some raking. Or, if the age-old fall tradition is something you want to skip, you can mow over your leaves, shredding them into small pieces. Then, you can just leave them! The leaves will provide nutrients to your lawn, act like mulch, and will protect the soil around your trees or garden.
Prune Your Trees
Our best advice: prune dead branches and branches now before they become a hazard in the winter weather. The best time to prune is between the changing leaves in fall and flower blooms in spring.
Wondering why the fall is an excellent time to prune? In fall and winter, trees enter a dormant stage, halting their growth. The inactivity, coupled with dropping temperatures creates an ideal setting for pruning. Pruning trees while they are in a dormant season promotes your tree’s current health and sustains future tree growth. If you prune after new growth has started, you can limit the plant’s bloom potential for the year.
Know When To Water
Our plants need our attention (or should we say H2O) the most during summer’s hottest days. But wintertime brings a dry spell of its own. When plant and tree beds are packed under snow and ice, roots can get thirsty. Plants need a hearty dose of water to keep them hydrated throughout the season.
If it’s dry and hasn’t rained for a few weeks, keep watering trees as they need it. However, stop watering when the ground begins to freeze, which usually happens in late October or November if you experience a true winter. If you’re in a southern climate, the soil may not begin to freeze until December (or at all).
In general, plan to water your tree up until temperatures dip into the 30s for a few days straight. After that, the ground freezes and the frozen-solid soil will act as a barrier to the water and prevent it from seeping down properly to the root zones.
Stumped? J&D Tree Pros can help! If you have questions about caring for your trees in the fall, call 919-467-7997 to get expert advice on your yard.