SavATree - Tree Shrub and Lawn Care

Preparing your trees for fall and winter

fall yardAs we head into the fall months, trees will begin their transition into dormancy – their opportunity to essentially “rest” from the previous growing season.

For some trees, the season was uneventful, while others battled drought, insects and diseases which caused an incredible degree of stress on their overall stamina leading into the dormant season.

Whichever the case for the tress on your property, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) understands the importance of taking care of your trees now, so they’ll weather the fall and winter strong and healthy for emergence next spring.

Jim Skiera, former Executive Director of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and current SavATree business partner, says, “While your trees seem to be in a state of hibernation in the winter, exposure to the tough conditions can cause them major stress. Minimize stress by helping your trees through the cold months, a little at a time. If you take care of your trees in the winter, you’ll be rewarded in the spring.”

Now is a busy time of year for many homeowners with school back in session and a stream of holidays to contend with. So why not get a jump on caring for your trees before the winter arrives with these ISA recommendations.

Prune your trees in the fall

To alleviate any stress to your trees, they should be pruned in the fall dormant season. This will allow a better overall view of the structure (without leaves), but also prevent insects and diseases from entering the open cuts as they are typically not active during this time. “Proper pruning is vital to the health of trees and plants, in part because it helps relieve stress on trees and keeps them growing,” says Skiera.

Retain water with mulch

By placing mulch or some other organically composted material around the base of the tree during the fall, it will not only help to retain moisture but also to protect roots from extreme temperature drops come the winter.

Fall planting

Have you been thinking about planting a new tree on your property? The fall is the prime time to plant a new tree. Cooler temperatures help stimulate root growth on new trees, while the arrival of spring helps encourage top growth. Remember, bare root plants (meaning there is no soil around the roots) should be planted later in the season when they are completely dormant.


Fall and winter droughts require watering as much as summer droughts. Pay attention to how dry your area is during the fall months and break out the hose for a half hour of deep watering every once or twice a month. If temperatures permit, an occasional winter watering on young trees can be a lifesaver. But be sure to water when soil and trees are cool but not frozen.

Be proactive and prepare your trees early in the fall season to help guarantee optimal protection for the winter months ahead. For more information on fall and winter tree care, contact SavATree.

About the ISA
Through research, technology, and education, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees.