When summer arrives we’re all excited to enjoy the beautiful, warm-weather season in the Cleveland area. But remember that as the weather changes, so should your tree care and maintenance efforts. Don't assume that your trees will enjoy the summer season as much as you do unless they get a little bit of extra care and attention.
Here's a quick list of summer tree care dos and don’ts to keep in mind this summer.
While some pruning is necessary to remove dead, damaged or diseased branches, over-pruning can stress out your trees. A stressed and over-pruned tree is more at risk during inclement weather, such as high winds, heavy rains or the summer thunderstorms we get here in northeast Ohio.
Do Prune To Fix Structural Problems
While over-pruning isn't good for you trees, neither is under-pruning. Trees with excessive canopy growth, branches that are hanging low or hitting nearby structures (like your roof), and trees that seem to be splitting are all dangerous during summer storms. When the wind whips leaf-covered branches around, it's easy for them to fail and cause extensive property damage. Judicious structural pruning and/or cabling solves the problem.
Properly shaped and trimmed branches during the summer will encourage strong growth during the autumn. We advise hiring a professional tree company to handle pruning needs. Beware of any company that suggests tree topping, this is not an advised practice as it can lead to major problems for your tree down the line.
Do Water Your Trees Regularly
Generally, we advise watering your trees regularly from May until October. A slow stream of water works best, allowing the tree’s roots to soak in the moisture and minimizing the amount of water lost to runoff from the soil; watering bags also work great for young trees.
It is best to water during early morning hours when the water is less likely to evaporate.
Newly planted trees especially need frequent watering during their first couple years; be sure they're receiving a deep watering at least once or twice a week. These trees do not yet have a large root system to provide moisture.
For more mature trees, direct the water to where the tree's roots are - out toward the drip line (where the branch tips are). You won't find tree roots right around the trunk!
It's possible to over-water your trees, even on the hottest, most humid days. Always check the soil for dampness first. If the soil is damp, or if you know that it recently rained, you don't need to water trees that day. Also consider outlining a watering schedule to help you keep track of each individual tree’s needs to ensure it's watered properly.
A ring of mulch around a tree will help to protect it during summer storms as well as conserve the existing moisture in the soil. Mulching also protects your tree roots from mower damage and soil compaction. Added bonus: Mulching around trees will add an extra element of landscaping appeal to your yard. But do it right - no "mulch volcanoes" (3 to 4 inches is more than enough) and keep mulch pulled away from the tree trunk (to avoid causing it to rot).
Don’t Plant New Trees in Summer
The prime time for planting trees is spring or fall. In the summer, your new tree will have the disadvantage of being planted during a very hot, potentially dry, period. This puts the newly planted tree at a higher risk for dying due to lack of proper watering. This doesn't mean that you can’t get the ball rolling though - start planning for new trees now and you'll have a head start when fall arrives.
Do Monitor Your Trees
Weather in the summer can range from extreme drought to consecutive days of heavy rain. Remember to keep an eye on your trees to monitor their health for signs of stress.
Do Consider Shade Trees For Next Summer
If you lack trees in your landscape to provide shade, make a note of which areas of your yard receive the most direct sunlight. For example, if you have a patio that receives no afternoon shade, you are likely not using it on hot summer days. Also note whether your air conditioning unit is shaded. Providing shade for your air conditioner can greatly improve its efficiency and reduce your energy costs.
Do Plan ahead for fall fertilization treatments
Regular fertilization improves the health and vitality of your trees and shrubs, strengthening their resistance to disease and insects. Make sure to get a fall fertilization treatment for your landscape on the calendar!
Do Have A Property Health Check
Summer is an ideal time to have the overall health of your property assessed by a professional arborist. An arborist can examine your trees for evidence of fungus infection or storm damage, as well as guide your future planning. This is particularly helpful for planning a new landscape design or if you are incorporating a new backyard feature like a deck or patio and want to ensure that your trees are not hurt in the process.
Need expert advice on caring for your trees this summer? Contact the professionals at Independent Tree for assistance.