Happy first day of summer! Although the last week has felt more like fall, today marks the first official day of summer! With summer comes issues that can harm our trees such as hurricanes and thunderstorms, excess heat, insects, and diseases. To help, we’ve compiled a list of summer tree care tips to keep your trees and shrubs healthy and happy all season long.
1. Reapply Mulch
Heavy rains and foot traffic can sometimes wash away mulch. Check to make sure it is 2-3 inches thick. If not, you will need to re-apply for ideal summer tree care.
Applying mulch around trees is one of the best things you can do for the health of your trees. Especially for young trees, mulching is a quick and cost-effective technique that provides numerous benefits.
How To Apply Mulch:
Size: The best mulching goes out as far as the drip line of the tree. However, this isn’t reasonable for most homeowners with large trees. If this isn’t practical, apply mulch in a 2 to 3-foot radius around the tree instead.
Depth: About 2-4 inches
- Do not pile the mulch against the trunk of the tree. Instead keep it away from the trunk, so that the root flare zone is visible.
- To refresh the look of mulch, lightly rake the top layers of the mulch, or simply remove the old mulch and replace with new mulch. Don’t pile new layers on top of old ones.
- Do not use fresh wood chips for mulching around young trees. Fresh wood chips have a higher acidity and can injury a young tree.
2. Water to Keep Trees Hydrated
In summer, trees and shrubs are faced with high temperatures. In one day, a large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground if it’s is available. And like humans, the hotter it is the more water trees and shrubs need. But overwatering can also have a negative effect on trees, essentially drowning their roots. Take a look at our tips below to make sure you’re giving your tree enough water to survive heatwaves without overwatering.
- DON’T use a sprinkler. This only wets the top layer of soil and doesn’t properly water the tree.
- Water in the morning to avoid evaporation and to help trees deal with the heat throughout the day.
- Water deeply and thoroughly 1 to 2 times a week.
- Turn hose to a dribble, put it somewhere in the critical root zone, and leave for 2-3 hours.
- Move the hose to a different spot in the critical root zone and leave for 2-3 hours. Repeat this step 1-3 times.
- You want the soil to be moist but not soaking. You should NOT be able to make a mud ball out of the soil.
- It’s okay for some portions of the soil to be wet and some to be dry.
3. Aerate Your Tree’s Critical Root Zone
In most urban and suburban areas the soils are very compacted, typically due to construction or high traffic which is why soil management is so important. For example in forests, the top 6 inches of soil is 50% oxygen. However; the average urban soil is only 10% oxygen. This lack of oxygen and pore space doesn’t allow enough water, oxygen, or nutrients to reach the tree’s roots. This can create major tree problems including lack of root growth, increased susceptibility to disease, and decline of overall tree health.
Aeration can fix compacted soils and prevent compaction in the future. Aeration uses high-velocity air tools and techniques to properly aerate the tree’s critical root zone (CRZ) loosening the soil. This creates macro and micropore space, making room for root growth.
4. Invest in an Organic Mosquito Plan over Popular Mosquito Companies
Although not typically part of your summer tree care plan, it’s important to invest in a mosquito program. Mosquitoes and ticks bring deadly diseases like Zika, West Nile, and Lyme, into your property. But if you want your trees to stay healthy, it’s important to invest in an organic mosquito plan.
Most big-name mosquito companies use harsh chemicals that don’t discriminate between good insects (like bees & ladybugs) and bad insects (like mosquitos & ticks). This creates a situation where pests populations are able to recover and repopulate faster than the beneficial insect populations that feed on them. This leads to pests feeding on trees and causing damage without being slowed down by natural predators. Protect your family and your trees with our Organic Mosquito & Tick Control Program.
5. Keep an Eye Out For Insects & Diseases
Tree pests can ravage your landscape and leave lasting damage. The warm weather of summer helps tree insects reach high population levels quickly. This means you need to act fast after you notice a problem or your trees will have extensive damage. Keep an eye out for the warning signs below.
- Holes in leaves
- Skeletonized leaves
- Wilting of leaves
- Browning or yellowing of leaves
- Honeydew (aka sap dripping from your trees)
- Early leaf drop/defoliation
- Stunted growth
- Lack of vigor
Still not sure what to look out for? In the next few weeks we will cover the most common insects and diseases (and their symptoms) that you should keep an eye out for this summer.
6. Prune Out Dead, Dying, and Diseased Branches
Dead, dying, and diseased branches are a danger to people and property. These are often the limbs that break and fall during summer storms. For the safety of you family and home make sure to get these branches pruned as part of your early summer tree care in order to avoid accidents.
Need help with these Summer Tips? Just give us a call at 703.573.3029 or book an appointment. Our Certified Arborists will help you will all your summer tree care needs!