Fall is the time to appreciate the beauty of the changing seasons. So, grab yourself a cup of apple cider and step outside to admire the colorful trees and falling leaves. While it may be the season of jumping in leaf piles and going to pumpkin patches, it is also the time for fall tree care to protect your trees from the harsh Minnesota winter.
Plant New Trees
First and foremost, if you have been thinking about planting a new tree, fall is a good time to do it. Adding more trees in the fall gives the saplings time to grow and adjust before the spring growing season begins. Trees go dormant in the winter season, so planting in the fall will give new trees the chance to establish their roots when the soil is consistently cool and moist. These conditions are much more forgiving for new trees than those of summer, which can leave young saplings drought-ridden and sun scorched if not properly cared for.
Guard Tree Trunks
If you have young trees on your property, winter’s sun and cold temperatures may create the need to invest is tree trunk protectors such as trunk guards and tree wrap. Young trees have not had time to develop thick bark, meaning they are more likely to get sunscald. Another common issue these saplings face in the winter is damage from deer’s antlers. While this occurs so deer can mark their territory and help shed their antlers, it can have a detrimental effect on young trees ability to grow into a healthy tree. To protect them from both types of damage, apply the tree guard starting at the base and carefully wind it up around the trunk of the tree.
Fertilize Your Existing Trees
Make sure your trees have the nutrients they need by applying a slow-release fertilizer around the base of the tree. A slow-release fertilizer will mimic nature by releasing nutrients over time to help the tree grow. However, be careful not to overfertilize. Giving the tree too much of these nutrients can lead to yellowing, browning, or wilting of its foliage and cause them to lose their leaves prematurely. To avoid this, check that your fall tree fertilizer has the correct NPK ratio for your tree’s needs, and help it grow as healthy as possible.
Mulch plays an important role in protecting trees from natural elements. Not only does it benefit the tree by conserving soil moisture, but it works to maintain soil temperatures and prevent erosion and compaction of the soil. When replenishing your mulch, cover the base of the tree with 1-2 inches of fresh mulch, but be careful not to make a mulch volcano, which happens when it is piled up against the base of the tree. Volcano mulching kills trees by increasing the risk of mold, pest damage, and decay of the tree. To avoid this, start your mulch about an inch from the tree’s base, extending outward about three feet.
Identify Tree Safety Hazards
Lastly, take a few minutes to look around for tree safety hazards such as broken limbs, dead branches, or leaning trees. When mixed with the strong winds, ice, and heavy snow of winter, these risks can quickly become liability issues. Consider talking to a professional about removing them before the winter weather arrives so they don’t result in injury or property damage. If you are not sure if one of your trees is a safety hazard, contact one of our certified arborists and find out if action is needed to keep you, your family, and your property safe.
This year, ensure your trees receive the fall tree care they need to survive the harsh Minnesota winter and thrive come spring. To learn more about how Ivan’s Tree Service can help keep your trees healthy all year round, contact us today. We are here to make sure your trees remain healthy and pest free so you and your family can continue to admire their changing colors and jump into leave piles for years to come.