Summer Tree Care Basics
Summer is usually a time when people have finished much of their trimming, cleaning, planting, pruning, and overall cleaning tasks that spring requires. They can enjoy the fruits of their labor and bask in their landscapes and how healthy they are. There are some things to remember about summer and your trees that will help your trees along, a lot of things that are overlooked by many and can lead to eventual disaster if not looked at and done properly. Here are some basic summer tree care tasks to keep in mind as your hot lazy days of summer progress.
Sometimes, you need to water your trees. This is especially true for young trees, or newly planted trees (yes, you can plant in summer if you’re willing to be good and liberal with the water!). Sometimes during hot and dry summers, many trees that have been planted suffer from stress- from heat, hot winds, and lack of protection. Keeping a good watering regime can help a tree along during times of heavy conditions. Some signs of stress include summer dormancy signs, such as leaf drop and twigs dropping. Usually before this however, you might notice some drooping in younger trees. You can water from above, but to properly water a tree it takes a very long time and a lot of water to get enough water into the root zone. Instead, think about installing an automatic drop system that drops water right into the soil around the drip line of the tree- not at the base of the trunk. The drip line of a tree is the furthest extent of its branches out- this is where the roots extend and do much of the water absorbing, since it’s where rain water can fall and be available, not stuck on the tree and it’s canopy. Some species of tree that might need help include paper birches planted in the south, swamp and white oaks planted in dry areas, and trees that usually feed from taproot that are evolved to have access to shallow ground water like pawpaw’s and such.
Generally, pruning in the summer for some trees, but most trees do better without summer pruning because the insects that bring with them or create internal damage on a tree enter a tree through a wound during this time of year, and wounding a tree in the summer will leave your tree very open to infection. Oak wilt, ash borer, Dutch elm disease, fire blight in malus species (apples etc.), and many other diseases are easily spread in the summer. Summer storms can harm trees during this time of year however, and weak and dying or dead wood are usually the first to come down in high winds and destroy property- which should be removed as soon as possible anytime. Protect open wounds from cuts in trees by sealing them with products designed for that purpose, tar, or wax.
Avoid fertilizing this time of year, as nitrogen spurs on new growth that gets damaged in the winter. Too much new growth can be a bad thing, so it’s best to do all fertilizing in the fall and spring.