In order to ensure a bountiful green turnout in the spring, a fall tree care program is essential to prepare your trees for exposure to the sun, wind and freezing temperatures. Each part of a tree performs a unique and critical role, so it is important that your fall tree care program covers all the bases.
By supporting and extending them toward the sky, branches afford leaves maximum exposure to the sun’s rays. Pruning branches periodically preserves the tree’s overall health and appearance while enhancing growth and preventing damage to life and property around the tree. Remember that professional help is essential for proper cutting. If branch structure is weak, cabling and bracing will prevent breakage and add extra strength against winter wind and heavy snow.
The life of a tree begins with the roots. Water is absorbed through the roots to compensate for transpiration (the loss of moisture through the leaves during photosynthesis). Threadlike root hairs take in rainwater and any available water in the soil. The largest roots hold the tree securely in the ground and keep it from toppling over. The most serious threat to the root zone is a lack of water. Be sure to provide adequate amounts of water up until the beginning of hard frost. Where road salt has been applied and threatens plants, water heavily to leach the salt past the root zone, weather permitting of course. Fertilizing the soil with a sea kelp-based fertilizer, such as ArborKelp, will also help by promoting root development and stress tolerance.
Through the process of photosynthesis, leaves convert sunlight into food for the tree and also purify the air we breathe by turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. In the winter, trees get less sunlight and moisture. This factor, causes most trees to lose their leaves or needles during the winter. To offset this loss, an application of antidessicant will coat the leaves and prevent browning.
The trunk is responsible for the transportation of water and nutrients to all other parts of the tree. In the winter, mice, rabbits and deer cause damage to young tree trunks by chewing away at the bark. Taste repellents are effective in fending off these animals.
Soil is the tree’s resource for nutrients and water. Severe moisture loss, fluctuations in soil temperature and frost heaving throughout the winter hinders the tree’s ability to absorb water and minerals. An application of mulch will help by maintaining a more suitable soil temperature throughout the winter. In addition, mulch aids in root development and reduces the need for weeding in the spring.
Preserving your trees will ultimately benefit the environment. In addition to their beauty and shade, trees add property value and act as a buffer to wind and noise. Most importantly, trees purify the air by absorbing dust and pollutants, carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, the root of life. So when the trees start to lose their leaves and fade into the scenery, remember, spring is not the only time to care for your trees. With extra tender loving care before winter, your trees will be ready to flourish when spring arrives!
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