CO-Horts

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fall Tree Care Tips

Jane Rozum,  CSU Extension-Douglas County Horticulture Agent

In the Douglas County Extension office this year, over 50% of the calls and emails to the Master Gardeners and I have been residents concerned about their trees.  From the Cold Snap event last November, to the Mother’s Day freeze, to our hot and dry August/September weather where many areas didn’t receive more than a few drops of rain, trees along the Front Range have had their share of adverse growing conditions. We can’t control the weather, but we can control how we care for our trees this fall and winter. Here are some tips:
1.       Mulch: Wood/bark-chip mulch is highly recommended on newly planted trees as well as existing landscape trees.  Trees with a mulch ring typically have 20% more early growth compared to trees where turf grows up to the trunk.  This is due to the lack of competition with the grass and/or weeds. In a landscape setting, the mulch ring is typically two to four feet wide or up to the width of the drip line (spread of branches) for young trees.  Wood chip mulch three to four inches deep conserves moisture, gives better weed control and prevents soil compaction by foot traffic.  On newly planted trees, do not mulch over the root ball.  On established trees, keep mulch at least six inches from the trunk.  Never pile mulch up against the trunk, since wet mulch can lead to bark decay or cover for mice, voles and other animals to feed on bark under mulch.  Mulch also protects the trees from lawn mower and weed eater injury. For more information on mulch, click here.
Photo: CSU Extension
 
2.       Trunk wrap for newly planted trees: Use tree wrap on young, recently planted trees that have not developed protective bark (Maple trees are especially prone to winter bark injury). Use tree/trunk guards to protect young trees from mechanical and animal damage. Apply tree wrap around mid-November; remove in April. For more information, click here.
Photo: Gardener's Edge
 
3.       Pruning: Pruning dead or broken branches is fine any time of year, including fall. Extensive structural pruning of live branches is not recommended at this time. Fall pruning may stimulate late-season growth which could make the tree susceptible to freezing injury.  Structural pruning for most trees is best performed in late winter, before trees break dormancy. Click here for more information.
Photo: tree removal.com
 
4.       Fall and Winter Watering:  During times of low precipitation, watering trees is necessary in our dry climate.  Water trees when there isn’t snow cover and daytime temperatures reach in the 40-50°F range. Once a month should be enough. When the sprinkler system has been turned off, using hoses and sprinklers may be necessary. Make sure you check with your municipality to see if there are any water restrictions. For more information, check out the Fact Sheet here.
Photo: Sacramento Tree Foundation
 

22 comments:

  1. Your pruning tips seem very helpful. I'm never sure when I should prune my tree branches, so it helps that you mentioned that I can prune dead or broken branches any time of the year. Your advice to do structural pruning during the late winter seems like it will help improve my trees that I planted this year. Hopefully, doing that before they break dormancy will help me see the results that I want from them. Thanks for the tips!
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    ReplyDelete
  2. Your pruning tips seem very helpful. I'm never sure when I should prune my tree branches, so it helps that you mentioned that I can prune dead or broken branches any time of the year. Your advice to do structural pruning during the late winter seems like it will help improve my trees that I planted this year. Hopefully, doing that before they break dormancy will help me see the results that I want from them. Thanks for the tips!
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  4. I didn't know that trunk wraps were so important for baby trees. I'm getting ready to buy a few tree saplings for my yard. Since it's winter right now, it's helpful to know how I can make sure that those trees make it to maturity. Thanks for sharing! http://www.medinatreeservicehouston.com/

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  5. if doing seasonal tree trimming so this can do before raining season that time tree falling chances are low and can easily judge the condition of tree

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  6. Mulch is a good thing to have especially for recently planted trees. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Jane, I appreciate your tips about tree pruning. It is good to know that trimming dead and broken branches throughout the year is fine. I didn't realize that autumn is not the time for pruning. It makes sense that it could cause the plants to be more susceptible to freezing in the winter.

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  8. Wrapping the trunks of new trees can help them grow properly. Good post.

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  9. This is really informative, I have been worrying about my tree lately. It has started to look dead, and water and fertilizer don't seem to have any affect. I don't know exactly what's wrong, but nothing I try seems to help it. Should I just have it removed and replaced? http://www.hodgsontreeservice.com/services.html

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  17. I am glad to know that pruning dead and broken branches are fine at any time of the year. My husband and I just moved into a new home with lots of trees and we really want to make sure that they stay healthy. We will have to keep these tips in mind when we call in the tree service victims. http://www.tiddtree.com/about/

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  19. Thanks for the information on fall and winter watering! I didn't realize that when there isn't much snow cover and temperatures rise trees would need to be watered even when they're dormant. I'll have to talk to my tree care service and ask them if they think that might be necessary for my area, as the weather might be rising soon. http://norcaltreecare.com/services.html

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  20. Great Post! The Tips is updated frequently with all the information you need to make your landscape luscious and your trees strong and healthy. Thanks for sharing

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