A Quick Checklist to Keep Trees Healthy This Fall

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fall plant checklist birch foliage


Many new trees are planted across Northeast Ohio during fall, which is wonderful! However, it’s important to remember that your newly planted trees will rely on you to help them grow and thrive, including through the winter. Established trees tend to be forgotten about – until they break, die, or look unhealthy. But, with just a little proactive care this fall, all of your trees can emerge from winter dormancy next spring full of vigor.

Follow this checklist to keep all of your trees, both new and old, healthy during the fall season and into winter.

Water Regularly

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if a tree needs water simply by looking at it, unless you’re a certified tree expert. So, to be safe, assume that your newly planted tree will need regular watering, particularly in advance of the winter season.

While you could water by hand, that doesn’t usually get enough water down to where the tree roots are. Overhead watering, such as with a sprinkler, often leads to evaporation and water run-off.

For best results, use a soaker hose to ensure your trees get enough water this fall.

Schedule a deep root fertilization for your trees

A fertilization treatment in the fall will help to strengthen your trees’ resistance to potentially stressful weather in the winter. Deep root fertilization targets the roots of your trees, helping them to replace and store vital nutrients that they will need to survive.

Learn more about deep root fertilization >>

Independent Tree arborist pruning a treeIdentify weak tree limbs, and remove or brace them for the winter

Look for any rotting or broken branches that would likely fall during a winter storm. These branches should be removed now as a safety precaution.

Any newly planted trees that are still very vulnerable to strong winds and weather conditions may need to be staked. This will protect them from root damage caused by the tree rocking back and forth.

Trees with long, heavy branches (particularly those growing above your house) or narrow crotches should be cabled to withstand the winter season. Heavy snow loads and coatings of ice can quickly break branches that aren’t structurally sound. To help you determine whether your trees need to be cabled, give us a call and one of our certified arborists will be happy to take a look.

Prune your trees

Proper pruning promotes tree health and proper structure (on the other hand, improper pruning can kill a tree). Pruning is easier in the late fall because leaves have fallen and you can more clearly see your tree’s structure. Just be sure to wait until all of the leaves have fallen off deciduous trees before doing any major pruning.

Before you get to work, check these common pruning mistakes that could kill your tree >>

If you’re unsure how to properly prune your trees, hire a professional tree service to handle your fall pruning. You can learn more about our pruning services here >>

Don’t forget …

If you’re planting a tree this fall, use proper tree planting techniques or give us a call and we’ll plant it for you. More trees die from improper planting than just about any other cause.

And if you’re looking for some great trees to plant, here are our recommendations for the Northeast Ohio region –

We Can Help!

Contact Independent Tree to schedule your fall tree care, including planting, pruning, plant health care, tree removals, and more!

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About The Author

Alan Kraus owner of Independent Tree in Newbury, Ohio

Alan Kraus

Alan Kraus is the founder and owner of Independent Tree, a full-service tree care company in Northeastern Ohio serving Eastern Cuyahoga, Geauga, Portage & Lake Counties. Alan is a certified arborist with a lifelong love of trees and with roots in the community he serves.  More About Alan >


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