All Seasons Tree Care Tips

Tree care is one of those things that we often take for granted. They are sturdy and can handle all kinds of weather, so we think they will always be there. 

However, this isn’t the case- neglectful tree care can lead to many problems such as disease and pest infestation, which will only make your trees worse off than they already were! 

Luckily, caring for a tree doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming; these tips should help you get started on taking better care of your beautiful trees today! 

Here are some tree care tips to help you maintain the health of your trees.  You should always trim back any branches that are touching other objects, keeping them at least five feet away from anything else. 

Also, if you have an aphid infestation, try spraying with a pesticide labelled for use against these pests. Most importantly, be sure to water adequately during droughts and monitor the soil moisture levels so as not to over-water or under-water your trees. For more information about caring for your trees, contact us today and read this post!

Spring Tree Care Tips

Spring Has Sprung, And It’s Time To Make Sure Your Trees Are Ready For The Changing Seasons! So what Should You Be Focused On This Time Of Year? There are some basics to cover in your landscaping at the beginning of the spring season, no matter where you live or what kind of trees you have. So here are our suggestions for taking care of your trees this spring.

Prune Your Trees

Just like every season of the year, pruning your trees in the spring is vitally important.

Proper pruning techniques allow you to remove any unsafe branches that may be a hazard from winter weather damage. It also gives you a chance to assess the trees and ensure that it is in good shape and will continue to thrive on your landscaping.

Top-up And/Or Replace Mulch

Another task to tackle this spring season is either topping up the mulch around your trees or replacing it entirely.

Adding mulch to the area around the trees and to other parts of your landscaping with plant growth allows roots to conserve moisture. Make sure to keep the soil covered with a three to five-inch layer of mulch starting a few inches away from the trunk base and extending out 1-2 feet from the tree in all directions.

On top of assisting your trees, plants, and flowers with retaining moisture, mulch also suppresses weed growth as well.

Check Moisture And General Tree Health

You will also want to check on the moisture levels of your trees as well as their general health.

Do so about once a week to check the soil moisture between 4-6 inches below the surface. The dirt should definitely be moist but not soaking wet.

If you have an irrigation system running through your landscaping, make sure you inspect it for any clogs, leaks, or other damage.

As the season goes on and the trees grow, water them less often but with more liquid. Use about 10 gallons of water for each inch of trunk diameter.

For any weeds that do pop up around your trees, plants, and flowers, make sure to fully remove them from your landscaping as they will steal nutrients and moisture from the trees and plants you want to keep around.

Fertilise Trees

Last but not least, make sure your trees get the proper fertilisation. This should be done before trees and shrubs enter their peak growing season. Then, simply apply a slow-release fertiliser to improve your plants’ resistance to insects, weather, and diseases and replace their nutrients.

Summer Tree Care Tips for Protecting Your Trees

Tree-care is a year-round responsibility, but it is important to note that your trees need different things during different times of the year. And while one could argue that trees growing in southern California experience summer-like conditions on a more-or-less constant basis, there are a few special things you’ll want to do to prepare for the summer’s peak.

Every tree and growing location is different, so it is always important to be flexible and tailor your approach to suit your specific trees. However, you’ll likely find that the following four tips help keep your trees healthier and looking their best all summer long.

Apply A Fresh Layer Of Mulch Over The Roots

Mulch helps to keep your trees – especially their roots – healthy in a variety of ways. However, mulch’s ability to shield the roots from high temperatures and to retain soil moisture are the two most important ways it can help in the summertime.

There are a variety of different mulches you can use, but organic, bark- or wood-based mulches are generally the best choices. Just make sure that you spread a 2- to 4-inch-thick layer around as much of the root zone as possible, and avoid piling mulch up against the tree trunk, as this can encourage fungal and bacterial growth.

Develop An Irrigation Plan

Southern California’s summers are notoriously dry, and rain only falls sporadically. Some trees can withstand drought-like conditions without any supplemental irrigation, but others will need a helping hand if they’re to survive the summer.

Research the water needs of your trees if you aren’t already familiar with them and devise a plan to suit their needs. If your trees are likely to need some extra water, figure out how you will provide it – even if water restrictions are enacted. There are a number of highly efficient ways to water trees, including, most notably, drip irrigation systems, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your friendly neighbourhood arborist if you need some help.

Ensure That Your Tree’s Roots And Trunk Are Protected

When the kids are out of school and the tourist season is in full swing, your trees may become exposed to a lot more foot traffic. As a result, they may even fall victim to vandalism or deliberate damage. And while you can’t completely protect your trees from these threats, you’ll want to do everything you can to shield them from harm.

Mulch will help protect a tree’s roots from minor foot traffic, but you may want to install fences or other types of barriers if your tree lies along a well-trodden path. You may even be able to install other plants to help keep people away from the trunks and roots of your trees – a couple of prickly holly shrubs can convince most casual passersby from getting too close.

Inspect the tree’s health while the canopy is full

Crown dieback – characterised by dead or dying branches in the canopy — is one of the most common signs of failing health or stress, and it is important to inspect your trees for it regularly. However, it can be difficult to do so for deciduous trees, which shed their leaves in the winter.

However, the summer provides the perfect time to take a look at your trees’ canopies, as the tree should be exhibiting the greatest leaf density at this time. If you note any dead branches, be sure to have an arborist inspect the tree at once.

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Fall Tree Care Tips

Early fall is the time to begin preparing trees for the winter and get them off to a good start in the following spring. Preventative maintenance and some good cultural practices in autumn boost trees’ health and vigor during the winter and create an encouraging growing spring environment. Here are 5 good tips for trees:

Scout For Pruning Issues

It’s advantageous to schedule pruning tasks after leaves have fallen. It’s much easier to see the branch structure of trees and deciduous shrubs in order to perform good selective cuts. Look for those non-beneficial plant parts and remove them. 

These include any dead, broken and crossing branches which can be removed. Also, search out and remove those epicormics sprouts in the canopy and basal sprouts emerging from Around The Trunk And Root Collar

Feeding For The Future

Typically, tree roots have produce more root growth during the fall. This is because root systems are important as storage organs or banks to reserve energy for later. These stores of starch will become active energy on-demand in the spring when shoot growth, leafing and flowering occur. 

Fertilisation during this time will maintain soil nutrient levels and increase root production, promoting new growth in the spring. Newly established trees and those younger trees are especially responsive to supplemental feeding. However, not all trees need or require fertilisation. Refer to this publication on fertilisation for more information.

Complete Cultural Practices

It’s always beneficial to the tree to replenish mulch to give root systems an extra layer of protection against temperature extremes. This helps maintain the moisture levels in the soil during those drier winter months as well. 

Maintaining 2-3 inches of composted mulch over the tree’s root zone and landscape provides great protection. Also, it may be a good time to consider providing protective wraps on thin-barked or newly planted trees, if needed. 

Also, now is a good time to inspect those existing wraps to be sure they are effective and not too tight around the trunk or harbour hidden pest issues.

Water Needed, Still

The dry, cool air and low precipitation that can sometimes occur during fall and early winter can take a toll on trees. Provide supplemental irrigation with deep watering to prevent root damage and a good spring start. 

It is advisable to water only when temperatures will be above 40o Water around mid-day, so there is time to soak in before the freezing night temperatures. Applying approximately 5 gallons of water per inch of tree diameter will be adequate for times when there is little to no rainfall going into winter.

Take Inventory

This is a good time to assess your site for vacancies. Check your property for potential planting locations to install new trees next spring. Research during the winter allows plenty of time for good decision-making, including proper species selection and suitable locations. 

Top Tips For Dealing With Snow And Ice On Your Trees

Here are some of our top tips for ensuring that your trees stay alive and safe during the coldest parts of the winter. We recommend keeping this in mind whenever your local area receives snow or frost.

Don’t Shake Branches Covered In Ice And Snow

While it may be tempting to shake off the branches of your trees that have a significant amount of snow and ice on them, try to avoid doing this. Shaking the branches, even gently, could cause damage or even breakage.

So what should you do? You can either allow the ice and snow to melt on its own, which is perfectly appropriate as long as it isn’t too heavy, or you can brush it off.

If you decide to brush off the snow, make sure to do so carefully and calmly, and make sure that you are being safe about it. For example, don’t stand directly under the branches, wear gloves, and don’t brush too vigorously.

For branches that do break during a snowstorm, try to remove it as soon as you possibly can. This will ensure that the tree/shrub can heal a little easier during the spring season.

Keep Watering Your Trees

Even though it isn’t hot outside, and your trees may not be seeing as much sun, they still need to be watered regularly. Continue regularly watering your trees and shrubs until your area gets a hard freeze.

In the event of a bad freeze, you can stop watering the trees, as it will simply add more ice to the area. However, having well-hydrated trees will give them a better chance of surviving the cold winter.

Prune Your Trees

You may see your trees and shrubs experiencing some breakage, especially during heavy snowfall. As we discussed before, it’s important to remove damaged and/or broken branches as soon as you possibly can to avoid further issues.

Pruning regularly throughout the winter should help you avoid excessive damage and breakage throughout the season. Consider pruning at the beginning of the cold season and continuing to do so until spring.

Consider Using Salt

If you have a severe ice and snowstorm, you may have more to remove from trees than you can complete by brushing them off. This is where using salt, or other melting agents may come in handy.

Before using a tool like this around your trees, you will need to consider that these agents can damage your trees and plants by drawing the water away from their roots. If you have to use something, use it as sparingly as possible.

For example, your evergreen trees are going to be especially sensitive when salt is concerned. Common signs of damage for these trees are brown needles and leaves, simply due to the lack of water.

When using salt or other melting agents, we recommend building a barrier around them to protect the trees and plants from potential runoff. It is also a good idea to mix gravel and sand to the salt to minimise the damage.

When in Doubt, Call a Professional

If your local area receives excessive snow and ice and you are unsure of how to deal with it, don’t hesitate to contact a trusted local tree care professional. But, again, it is better to be safe rather than sorry, and this refers to both your safety and your trees.

Pruning Trees

Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure. Unlike forest trees, landscape trees need a higher level of care to maintain structural integrity and aesthetics. In addition, pruning must be done to understand tree biology because improper pruning can create lasting damage or shorten the tree’s life.

Each cut can potentially change the tree’s growth; therefore, it is important to remember that no branch should be cut without reason. Some common reasons for pruning include removing dead branches to improve form and increase safety, increasing light and air penetration for plants below the tree’s crown, or corrective and preventative measures.

When to Prune

Most light, routine pruning to remove weak, dead, or diseased limbs can be accomplished at any time during the year with little effect on the tree.

As a rule, growth and wound closure are maximised if pruning takes place before the spring growth flush. Therefore, heavy pruning of live tissue just after the spring growth flush should be avoided, especially on weak trees.

Tree diseases, such as oak wilt, can be spread when pruning wounds provide access to disease-causing agents. Therefore, susceptible trees should not be pruned during active transmission periods.

Pruning Techniques

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Specific types of pruning may be necessary to maintain a mature tree healthy, safe, and attractive.

  • Cleaning is the removal of dead, dying, diseased, weakly attached, and low-vigour branches from the crown of a tree.
  • Raising removes the lower branches from trees to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and vistas.
  • Reduction reduces the size of a tree, often for utility line clearance. Reducing a tree’s height or spread is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to secondary branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles (at least one-third the diameter of the cut stem). Compared to topping, reduction helps maintain the tree’s form and structural integrity.
  • Reducing the density of foliage at the crown periphery, thinning, is sometimes performed to increase wind or light penetration for aesthetic reasons and to promote interior foliage development.

Pruning Young Trees

Structural pruning is essential in developing a tree with a strong structure and desirable form. Trees that receive the appropriate pruning while young will require less corrective pruning as they mature.

Remember that each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, therefore it is important to set an objective for why the tree will be pruned. For young trees, the objective is to improve tree structure. Poor pruning can cause damage the tree must grow over, causing the wound to stay within the tree forever.

Pruning Palms

Most pruning of palms is done to remove dead or dying fronds, inflorescences (flowering), and/or fruiting clusters, particularly those that may be a potential risk to the public coconuts.

Pruning is usually conducted at least biannually. However, to minimise the risk of injury or damage from the heavy fruit, coconuts may be pruned as often as every 3–4 months. Great care should be taken to avoid any damage to the terminal bud. Over-pruned palms may have slower growth and may attract pests.

Generally, remove old, dead, lower fronds only, unless otherwise required for clearance. Occasionally, live green fronds can be removed, where the frond shaft has descended below a horizontal plane. However, removing live fronds where the shaft is greater than 45 degrees above horizontal is not known to reduce future pruning requirements.

Climbing spikes should not be used to climb palms for pruning because they permanently wound the palm trunk. In addition, wounds on the palms do not close.

Don’t Top Trees!

Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or to lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Topping is often used to reduce the size of a tree, but it is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practise known.

Topping can lead to unacceptable risk, tree stress, and decay. It is also expensive and destroys the natural form of the tree.

Alternatives to topping include removing small branches to their point of origin or pruning back larger limbs to a lateral branch that is large enough to assume the terminal role. Sometimes the best solution is removing the tree and replacing it with a more appropriate species for the site.

Be sure to consult with a local arborist about alternatives to topping.

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