Between cold, snow, wind, hail and heat, it’s been an extra tough season for trees. Help your trees stay healthy with some routine care this month:
We’re often asked how much water to give a tree in a week. Soils, tree species, size and maturity will affect water requirements, but one rule of thumb is 10 gallons of water weekly for every inch of trunk diameter. For example, if you have a 6-inch spruce tree, your tree will need 60 gallons of water each week. Newly planted trees will need more water than established trees until their roots are able to grow beyond its original root ball.
It’s better to soak trees deeply less often than to water frequently. A long and thorough soaking wets beyond the root zone and encourages deep rooting. These deep roots are important for surviving stress, insect pressure and drought.
Mulch applied around the base of trees helps with weed reduction and moisture retention. In our region bark mulch is widely available is an economical and effective mulch. Apply a two or three-inch deep layer of mulch around the base of the tree. Be careful not to pile mulch up the trunk like a volcano, but pull the mulch slightly away from the trunk into more of a flat donut shape around the base.
Weeds and grass will compete for a tree’s nutrients and water. Pull weeds and grasses manually or carefully spot spray with a non-selective weed killer such as Pulverize™ or Killzall™.
Make a habit of checking trees routinely. Look for any damage and signs of stress such as wilted, discolored or dead leaves. Inspect the trunk for any holes, oozing or sawdust. If you see something unusual, take a closer look for insects. For help troubleshooting problems, collect a sample, snap a picture and bring it to us at the nursery for help.
It’s best to wait until late fall or early spring to fertilize. Encouraging new growth at this time of year puts extra stress on a tree. An exception would be a mild root stimulator used at planting time for new trees.