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27 Sep 2017
Fall Tree Care

Best Ways to Care for Your Trees During the Fall

Who says the gardening season is over once fall arrives?

Autumn is still actually a good time for planting trees. It’s also the season wherein plenty of nuts and fruits ripen. But if there’s one important thing that every tree owner should do when autumn arrives, that would be preparing their trees for the upcoming winter.

To ensure that your trees will survive the winter, it’s crucial that you prepare them ahead for what’s coming.

Are you all set? Here are the steps:

  1. Inspect Your Trees’ Leaves

Once you have noticed that the leaves of your trees are turning slowly to the color of the season, then that’s the perfect time to inspect them for uneven hues and defoliation. Both of them are actually signs of tree problems like nutrient deficiency, pests, and diseases.

The appearance of mushrooms during fall is not really a problem unless there are a lot of them appearing near the trunks. This could be a sign that the roots are decaying.

  1. Evaluate the Soil

Have you had the soil in the vicinity analyzed? If not yet, then consider doing it this season. Have your soil analyzed. That way, if there is a nutrient imbalance in your backyard, you can instantly apply the needed fertilizer before winter comes rolling in.

  1. Spray Anti-Desiccant on Leaves

Water loss is one of the major reasons why trees suffer during winter. With limited water to absorb, trees are left without resort but to use the water they’ve stored in their stems and leave.

One way of avoiding water loss is through spraying anti-desiccant on the leaves. This will provide leaves with a waxy layer that will keep in moisture.

  1. Mulch

Don’t wait for winter to come before you start mulching your trees. As early as today, mulch the surrounding of your trees to trap warmth and provide trees ample time to grow and absorb nutrients and water.

During the winter, the mulch will provide protection against the harsh weather and reduce water loss. It is absolutely important that you also mulch newly planted or young trees since they do not have enough defense mechanisms yet to weather the harsh season.

When it comes to mulching, distribution is critical. Recommended thickness of the mulch is one to two inches. Placing too large a mound is not advisable because it can provide a place for bacteria and fungi to flourish.

  1. Prune Your Trees

Pruning also plays an important role in tree care during fall. Basically, there are three different types of pruning that should be done during this season:

  • Pruning branches that died during summer
  • Doing structural pruning
  • Pruning to reduce the size of the tree

To properly prune your trees, make sure to talk to a professional arborist, especially if you are not familiar with pruning techniques and methods.

  1. Check for Pests

Even when the climate has turned cooler, pests can still wreak havoc on your trees. Mites, spider mites, stink bugs, and boxelder bugs can definitely damage your trees.

Applying a systemic insecticide is one of the best ways of getting rid of pests. You’d also be glad to know that this kind of method can actually protect your trees for up to 12 months.

  1. Protect Your Trees

And of course, let’s not forget to protect our trees that are susceptible to high winds, salt, and the southwest sun. By just wrapping the trunk of a tree with a trunk wrap, or even paper and polypropylene, it can go a long way of upping the chances that your plants will emerge from the winter as robust as ever.


Why is fall tree care important?

Because your trees are still recovering from the extreme heat during the summer season and yet in a few weeks, they’ll be encountering cold weather. If you want your trees to recover from the summer heat and survive the winter season, then providing them with every essential nutrient and protection is absolutely helpful.

More info: photo by Ben Regali

09 Jun 2017
tree lightning strike

What to Do If Your Tree Is Struck by Lightning?

Lightning can undoubtedly be considered as one of the greatest threats to massive trees.

As a matter of fact, every year, thousands of trees get struck by lightning. Moreover, it has long been proven that taking shelter under a tall tree in a thunderstorm is one of the most ill-advised things to do.

Being usually the tallest object around a given area makes a tree a natural lightning rod during tempestuous weather. There have even been recorded instances of trees getting blasted by lightning in sunny weather! And with more than 100 lightning strikes happening around the world every second, there’s a fairly good chance that your tree might get hit one of these days.

During spring and summer seasons, lightning strikes become more prevalent, and while not all trees attract lightning (short ones come to mind), it is critical that you learn how to assess lightning damage just in case your plant does get hit.


Assessing Tree Damage

When lightning blasts a tree, the impact can be felt instantaneously. The moment it hits, it turns the tree’s water into gas, causing the plant’s outer layers to explode outwards. This effect is catastrophic; 50% of trees hit by a bolt die immediately while others suffer extensive damage, making them vulnerable to diseases.

Among the most common tree species that get hit by lightning are oak, gum, maple, poplar, and pine trees.


Degree of Damage

When a tree gets hit by lightning, there are three possible outcomes: The tree escapes damage; it suffers damage but survives with nothing but a scar; it dies.

The Tree Survives

Most of the trees’ water content is stored just under the bark. With water being a superb electrical conductor, the lightning strike will penetrate the outer layers of the tree obliterate them. Lightning blasts will typically scar a tree.

The Tree Escapes Damage

There are times when heavy rain has soaked the tree’s exterior.  When this happens, there’s a chance that the lightning will just cascade around the tree and leave it relatively unscathed.

The Tree Dies

Dying trees—especially ones with an already compromised structure—will typically have one or more areas that are being ravaged by disease. Since these have most of their water content concentrated deeper in their trunk, any lightning strike can fully penetrate the plant’s center and utterly destroy the tree. This can cause a powerful explosion that will send large and small branches flying (including splinters and huge chunks of wood), and even split the trunk into two.


What to Do after Lightning Strikes Your Tree

Before you inspect the tree, know that there may still be a residual electric charge around the immediate area of the blast site; do not approach the tree immediately. Let a few minutes pass then take a look at the plant and assess the damage it received from the lightning strike.

The first step that you should do in treating a damaged tree is by supplying it generous amounts of water. Make sure to provide fertilizer as well to help stimulate new growth. Damaged trees that survive until the spring season are most likely to recover from a lightning strike.

Know though, that while scarred barks and broken branches can be considered as minor issues, you have to check from time to time and see that the damage hasn’t spread—trees that have damaged layers become more vulnerable to certain pests and diseases.

Another way that you can do to save a hit tree is by pruning the broken branches, including any torn wood. A word of caution however: Do not do extensive pruning until a year has passed after the lightning strike.

For trees that have suffered extensive, irreparable damage, you need to remove them from your area especially if they are near healthy trees. Leaving them there can sometimes cause numerous arboreal threats to infect your healthy trees. Consult an expert tree removal team to help you get rid of the damaged tree.


Tree Protection against Lightning Strikes

In order to prevent lightning from harming your trees, you may consider installing a lightning protection system that uses copper cables attached to the tree’s uppermost branches and grounded a few meters away from the tree.

Once the lightning strikes, the electricity will be diverted to the cable assembly, leaving your tree unscathed.

More info:

Tree Removal

Tree Health Care photo by AgencjaAIAC

08 Jan 2017
tree protection from harsh weather

How to Protect Your Trees from the Harsh Winter Weather

Typical winter weather takes a serious toll on trees, regardless of whether it’s a newly planted growing tree or an aging one that’s over a decade old. Snow storms, the rapid fluctuation of temperatures between the day time and night time, and drought—all these are detrimental to the health of your tree.

So what does this mean for the average tree owner?

For any homeowner who has a tree or two in his property, tree health is a major concern, especially during this time of year. Concerns about the overall health of a tree are not only for the benefit of the tree itself, but also for the neighborhood and the people living within its vicinity.

A sickly or weak tree could break a branch at any moment. Even the slightest gust of wind could cause a large, heavy limb to break and fall. Now, what if kids were playing underneath the tree? What if the broken limb is directly above a portion of your house?


How to Effectively Deal with the Various Problems That Winter Brings

Dealing with Extreme and Fluctuating Temperatures

Fluctuating temperatures can cause a lot of stress on trees in a variety of ways. On mature trees, for instance, the rapid changes in temperature between the daytime warmth from the sun and night time sub-zero conditions can wreak havoc within the tree, specifically between the outer layer/bark and the inner wood.

The stress brought about the rapid change of temperature will eventually lead to cracks, otherwise known as frost cracking or southwest injury—referring to the part of the tree that receives the most exposure from winter sunlight.


What Should You Do to Avoid This?

In the majority of the cases, there is very little that you can do to prevent frost cracking from occurring, especially if you live in an area with harsh winters. More often than not, trees sustaining such injuries can repair themselves over time. The cracked area, however, will remain vulnerable, so you have to be careful of subsequent cracking occurring in that same area if you want to avoid serious damage to the plant.

As part of your fall maintenance procedure, you might want to consider wrapping the bark of your trees with commercial tree blankets to prevent moisture loss and frost cracking. Applying the appropriate winter mulch on the ground surrounding the tree is also advisable to provide adequate insulation on the plant’s root system.

Late growth injuries brought about by sudden temperature drops is also a common problem among trees and other plants. Ice crystals can form and rupture the cell walls on the growing tips of a tree branch. To avoid this, you should only perform the pruning process until after the tree has entered into its dormant stage during the fall.


Combating Winter Drought

Winter drought is a very real problem for trees and other plant life, especially in areas that experience harsh winters and really low temperatures. Winter drought usually happens when a plant, particularly a tree, loses more water than it can absorb from the frozen ground. This is especially common during early spring when the warm spring sun begins to heat up the tree but the ground is still frozen solid, preventing it from absorbing enough moisture.


A Proactive Solution that is Easy to Implement

Granted that there is no surefire way to prevent winter drought from occurring, you can minimize its effects by simply spreading a thick layer of organic winter mulch around the base of the tree. You apply the mulch in late fall, just before winter starts to hit. The mulch will serve as insulation, acting as a temperature buffer for the root system while slowing down moisture loss and runoff.


Preventing Limb and Branch Breakage

Tree limbs and branches are especially vulnerable to breakage during the winter season. This is particularly common among deciduous trees where the wood hardens due to cold temperatures and become brittle and susceptible to breakage, even with just a little gust of wind. Then there’s the accumulation of ice and snow on the branches, adding more weight, which again may result in breakage.


What To Do

The best solution to minimizing branch breakage lies in the fall maintenance of your trees, specifically the pruning process. This is why pruning is very important. Not just the process itself, but how and when you do the pruning.

Make sure to prune the tree after it enters dormancy to prevent late growth injuries, and make sure to remove any damaged limbs and weak branches before winter hits.


How do you protect your trees during harsh weather months? What has worked well for you in the past? Comment below.


More info:

Seasonal Tree Care

Stocksnap photo by Jay Mantri