Trees are such a natural addition to a yard that it’s easy to forget they need care and attention, too. Just like our lawns and flowerbeds, trees are prone to disease, pest damage, and stunted growth. You should include even the most low-maintenance tree on your list of spring chores. To get started, check out these seven quick and easy ways to take good care of your trees this season.
1. Prune your small trees and shrubs
When winter begins to ebb into spring, help revitalize late-spring flowering by pruning your smaller flowering and fruiting ornamentals! Some of the benefits of pruning include preserving the right size and shape of your trees, improving airflow, and increasing light penetration.
The National Arbor Day Foundation recommends pruning in early spring, after the coldest part of winter has passed. If winter storms have left your trees with dead and broken branches, make sure to remove those first when you begin pruning.
It’s important to know the difference between a heading cut and a thinning cut. A heading cut removes a branch part of the way, prompting multiple buds to grow from the spot. But a thinning cut removes a branch at its origin, allowing in that all-important light and air. The ideal technique combines both kinds of cuts to avoid a heavy outer layer of dense foliage.
2. Prevent damage from pests with overwintering insect control
If you want to avoid pest damage to your tree’s trunk and leaves this spring, consider hiring a TruGreen specialist to spot the subtle signs of overwintering pests. Many pests will take shelter within a tree during the winter as larvae. These larvae hatch into beetles, caterpillars, moths, and borers in the spring, all of which can cause major harm to your trees.
Our specialists will examine your trees for symptoms that reveal harm from insects, such as cracked bark and small holes in the tree, and create a custom treatment plan to keep your trees healthy and insect-free. In some cases, TruGreen’s horticultural oil can help end the repeating lifecycle of those winter pests and prevent future damage.
3. Watch that mower! Create mulch barriers to protect tree trunks.
Mulch is organic material spread over soil to help the soil retain moisture, protect it from extreme heat or cold, and prevent weed growth. Common kinds of mulch include wood chips, shredded leaves and bark pieces. By placing mulch around tree trunks, you create a natural, visible barrier that prevents you from mowing too closely and creating trunk wounds that attract ants, borers and beetles.
Ideally, a surrounding area mulch is at least 3 feet in diameter around your tree. Your mulch of choice should be between 1 and 3 inches deep. Make sure that the mulch doesn’t actually touch the base of the tree, leaving about three inches of space between the tree trunk and where the mulch begins. Leaving mulch right up against the trunk can lead to unwanted disease and rot! Refresh the mulch every spring and fall.
4. Examine your trees for signs of injury or disease
Winter’s harsh, cold conditions can sometimes take a toll on your trees, so it’s important that your spring care routine includes assessing their health. If trees are planted in dry soil that freezes easily, or if they simply aren’t hardy to the area, they can suffer from frost injury and winter burn. In addition, your trees could show signs that they’re suffering from fungi-related disease such as root rot, cedar-rust disease, and apple scab.
During a TruGreen Tree & Shrub Evaluation®, one of our specialists will closely examine your trees for telltale symptoms of injury and disease. After identifying any blotches on leaves, damage to trunks, and other signs of an unhealthy tree, our specialists can determine the right solution to ensure your trees stay beautiful and strong.
5. Use the proper watering technique for each tree
Even the most seasoned of gardeners can make the mistake of overwatering or underwatering the trees in their yard. The right technique depends on the tree, the soil it’s planted in, and the weather. While it’s always a good idea to adjust to wet or dry conditions, a general rule of thumb for properly watering plants is watering regularly and deeply. Even if you water frequently, shallow watering won’t reach the roots.
If your area is particularly dry or prone to high temperatures in the summer, regularly check the soil surrounding your trees to determine how often to water. The good news is that the mature trees in your yard have deep roots that allow self-sufficiency. During periods of hot and dry weather, it’s best to slowly soak the tree’s soil so that water sinks deep into the soil.
6. Give your trees a boost with targeted trunk injections
If your trees are suffering from pest damage, disease or nutrient depletion, they might need an extra boost to make a full comeback. TruGreen offers targeted trunk injections that deposit special solutions into the vascular system of your trees.
The process won’t damage or cause stress to the tree. Instead, the trunk injection will improve the tree’s ability to fight off disease and deter harmful insects from taking up residence in your tree. The experts at TruGreen are specially trained to know when trunk injections will yield the right results for your trees.
7. Encourage growth with a spring feeding
If you’re looking for an impressive flowering season this spring, your trees may need a little extra help in the root department. Experience a burst of color and enhanced tree growth with TruGreen’s spring feeding service, which targets the tree roots with a surge of essential nutrients.
When in doubt, call in the experts
If you’re worried about the health of your trees, or you just want an expert opinion, a TruGreen PhD-certified specialist has the knowledge to bring you peace of mind. Our experts will make sure your yard thrives by drawing up a tailored plan that offers science-based solutions and long-term protection for hardier trees and shrubs.
To get started with your first TruGreen Tree & Shrub Evaluation®, call 800.464.0171 or visit our tree and shrub services page.