As spring approaches, the weather temperature will soon be increasing again and you will need to think about how you can ensure that your trees receive the best benefits in the warm seasons. Different tree species will require a certain level of attention and care. Taking care of trees can be intimidating and can require a high level of maintenance, but we have created the following guidelines to ensure that your trees prosper during the warmer months.
Know when to water your trees
Since trees can adapt when water becomes scarce, watering trees when it’s not necessary can be wasteful and harmful. You don’t really need to water your full-grown trees, even during a dry hot season. However there are exceptions, during drought conditions, you may need to use a garden hose to give your trees a little bit of extra water. If you have young trees you will have to water them on a regular basis. It’s always best to consult with your tree nursery for the best advice on watering your trees when they are still young. Overwatering a tree can cause serious damage and so can underwatering. Make sure that you keep yourself informed with regards to weather reports. You might also want to consider placing a rain gauge outside your house. A good indication of dehydration is the yellowing and loss of leaves. This means you will need to increase your watering.
Prepare and protect your tree from unfavourable weather conditions
If you live in an area prone to thunderstorms in summer, it’s important to ensure that your property is well protected. Falling tree debris can damage your property and even pose a threat to your family and personal well-being. It’s recommended that you remove branches that are too large in order to prevent them from damaging your property. If removing branches is not a viable option, you might need to consider cabling or bracing.
Cabling and bracing provide structural support for the trees, and prevents them from falling, damaging property, or injuring anyone. A flexible steel cable can be placed between the trunks and branches to limit their movement when faced with strong winds or other natural disasters. This helps tree trunks and branches to remain undamaged from high winds and heavy rain. Cabling also helps transfer the trees’ weight from weaker branches to stronger ones, thereby preventing bends and breaks ensuring that the tree’s longevity is improved.
Bracing is the threading or bolting of a cable through the branches to secure the complete structure of the tree. Bracing combines split trunks and holds the rubbing limbs of a tree together. This is essential for reducing the unnecessary movement of limbs and the stress on the branches. Always contact your local arborist to assess how you can protect your trees from storms and other unexpected weather conditions. This could save you thousands of rands when it comes to property damage.
Protect your trees from pests
Pests include insects, fungi and other bacterial infections. Most pests are more prevalent in summer since most pests are dormant in the winter. Pests can be very harmful to trees if they are not protected. Insects take advantage of the damaged parts of the tree, they invade weakened branches or scrape through the wood. Fungi usually grow in improperly pruned areas, this can prevent the nutrients from going to the areas that need them the most. Bacterial infections can also impede the tree’s development and growth. As the temperatures increase you will need to check your tree for signs of pest infections on a regular basis. Evaluate the leaves on the top and bottom to see if they have changed colour. If the leaves are yellow it means that the tree has a disease while black spots on the bottom of the leaves can be indicative of fungal growth. Fungi can be very problematic especially during the warm seasons. They can prevent the tree from transporting water throughout its vascular system and potentially starve the tree to death.
Generally, an indication of an infestation of carpenter ants or termites is the presence of material resembling sawdust surrounding the tree or holes throughout the bark of the tree. Pest invasions are capable of killing the trees if they are not removed. It’s often easier to keep the pests under control if the infestation is caught and addressed early enough. You can contact your local tree nursery or arborist for recommendations on treating fungi, bacteria, and getting rid of insects.
Provide your trees with proper nutrition
In order to ensure that your trees are healthy, you will need to provide them with the proper nutrition. Different tree species require different nutrients, some may require fertilizer and others mulching. Fertilizers are used to promote rapid tree growth. Trees usually respond best to fertilizer with a 2-1-1 or a 3-1-1 ratio (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium). For the best results, apply fertilizer on the ground evenly around the edge of the tree’s canopy and never within 30cm of the trunk. When coming to trees growing in turf, fertilizer is best applied beneath the root zone of the grass.
Some trees prosper better with mulching. Mulch acts as a natural insulation layer to protect the soil from the sun. It helps prevent excessive evaporation of water and regulates the soil’s temperature. It’s always best not to pack the mulch all the way up to the base of the tree. This can suffocate the soil and harm the tree, so make sure that you leave a few inches uncovered around the base so that the tree can get sufficient oxygen. You can also remove the grass around your trees and cover the roots in mulch. This will reduce the need for the grass and roots to compete for the moisture in the soil.
Taking care of trees requires knowledge of the individual tree specie’s needs, regular inspection, and maintenance. It’s always best to consult your local arborist for assistance. Arborists have the necessary knowledge and skills for pruning trees, checking for pests, and providing the required nutrients to ensure a higher successful growth rate. If you are considering planting new trees, there’s no better time than now. Visit www.justtrees.co.za and we’ll help you select the best trees for your environment.