While many consider late fall and winter as a time to stay indoors, it's important to help our trees and landscape before hibernation begins.
By completing some simple maintenance steps now, you will be able to enjoy your landscape even more when things warm up.
1) Deep-root fertilization. With a deep-root application of a slow-release fertilizer, your trees and shrubs will be stronger going into the cold months ahead. They will be less susceptible to damage from diseases, insects and stressful weather. Plus, you’ll be treated to better blooming and enhanced vitality next spring!
2) Pruning. Pruning maintains tree health and form by eliminating decaying, diseased or dead branches, and properly shaping them ensures healthy, attractive growth. It is best to prune during dormant season because it's easier to identify branches that need removed; future buds and new growth won't be affected; and it helps some species avoid inadvertant transmission of wilt diseases. In addition, properly pruned trees are stronger to combat severe weather.
3) Watering. Although summer is over, drought stress may still be affecting your trees. It is important to continue properly watering your trees. Roots will continue to grow even as soil temperatures drop into the 30s. For evergreens, it may be necessary to water during drought as leaves continue to lose moisture during winter.
4) Leaf removal. Wet leaves on a turf area during winter can kill the turf. Rake leaves or mulch them with a mower so they break down and can help return nutrients to the soil more quickly. residential landscape services mulch and bed maintenance
5) Mulch. Fall is a good time to lay mulch to help limit weeds from appearing in plant or tree beds in early spring. But be sure not to overdo it: a 2- to 4-inch mulch layer is recommended to reduce weed germination and insulate the soil. Read more in our blog.
6) Planting. Late fall and winter are great times to plant a tree. But it's important to consider several factors, including whether the space is right for when the tree is full grown, the soil is ideal for helping the tree thrive, and the temperature extremes aren't too much for the tree to handle. Learn more with these guidelines.
7) Avoid salt. In areas where salt is used to melt snow, it's ideal to keep it away from tree and plant roots as much as possible. Salt can desicate roots, putting the tree in a drought-like state. While salt levels during winter may not be apparent in spring when heavy rains have washed it away, it still can negatively affect landscape plants. Homeowners should apply 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet of gypsum to turf or soil in late November or early December to help protect roots from the affects of salt damage.
8) Tree and property inspection. This is a perfect time for a thorough landscape inspection because plant structures can be clearly viewed, allowing for easy identification of potential problems. Key things to look for include:
- Potential safety hazards
- Signs of pest and disease
- Indicators of your plants or trees needing nutrients or water
A professional arborist can help you prioritize tasks and create a plan while considering the safety of your family and property, the health of the tree, and your landscape goals.