Spring has finally come, which means it’s growing season once again. You want to pay special attention to your trees during this time to make sure they grow healthy. Snow and rainfall may have formed standing water in your landscape, which can cause flood damage.
Follow this spring tree care checklist for a productive growing season.
Inspect your trees
Spring gives you a great opportunity to inspect your mature trees. The leaf canopies haven’t completely filled in yet, allowing you to see the trunk and branches more clearly. The damage from winter storms are also more visible.
First, check the branches. Look for hanging branches or cracks where they’re attached to the trunk. Growing fungus or missing bark may indicate wood decay. Branches that are abnormally thin are weak and prone to breaking – a condition that is common for maple and elm trees.
Next, inspect the tree trunks. Check for cavities, sunken or missing bark, and oozing wounds, which are signs of tree rot. Examine the roots as well. Raised or cracked soil on one side of the tree may indicate leaning and structural weakness. Cavities, fungus, and mushroom growth on large roots and along the base of the trunk mean that your tree may be decaying.
After several weeks, the canopy should start growing back. Slow growth in odd sections of the tree or uneven coloring of leaves may be symptoms of an unhealthy tree. Apart from regular tree fertilizers, additional treatment is needed for trees with nutrient deficiencies. Don’t forget to check for signs of insect damage on the leaves.
Prune dead branches
Proper pruning reduces strain and stress damage from high winds and storms, ensuring the long-term health of your trees. By removing old, broken, and dead branches, you’re allowing new, healthier growth. Removing diseased branches prevent the decay from spreading to other parts of the tree as well. Pruning also protects your property from potential damage from fallen branches.
A study shows that pruning fruit trees results in bigger crops since reducing the number of buds gives fruits the space it needs to grow.
Keep the soil hydrated
Remove debris, twigs, dried leaves, and weeds around the trees. These compete for water and nutrients, hampering tree growth. They can also trap excess moisture, which can create breeding grounds for fungus and pests.
Check the soil moisture once a week, especially the parts near young trees. The soil should be moist but not wet. Deep watering strengthens the surface and underground roots, helping your trees get the nutrients they need more easily.
Apply mulch to conserve soil moisture. Cover the soil with three to five inches of mulch in a 1- to 2-feet radius around the tree. Avoid mulch volcanoes, or tall piles of mulch around the base of the tree, because these prevent the roots from getting the nutrients they need to grow.
Fertilize your trees
Lastly, your trees need to replenish the nutrients they lost during winter. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to replace the nutrients and to build the trees’ resistance to diseases, pests, and stressful weather.
Keep a close watch on your trees during springtime, especially the saplings, to ensure a productive growing season. If you find signs of severe decay, pest infestation, or nutrient deficiency, contact your local arborist immediately to help you nurse your trees back to health.