Don’t neglect your trees and shrubs this fall. Each summer, we experience heat and usually drought, and this summer was harsh—and extended! It’s time to care for your trees and shrubs.
Trees in the forest have an abundance of nutrients because of the forest environment that has evolved over millions of years. However, the trees in our yards are a different story. They face high-stress conditions like low moisture availability, compaction and physical damage. Plus, as we rake away leaves and branches, we remove nutrients that would have naturally decomposed, feeding the roots.
Trees and shrubs need four basic elements to live and grow: air, water, sunlight and nutrients. We cannot control the air or sunlight, but we can supplement water, as needed, and provide nutrients. Fall is the time to supplement the nutrients these plants are not receiving naturally. Our custom blend of fertilizer includes 10 of the 16 basic nutrients needed. Four of the other 6 occur naturally through air and water.
Potassium is one of the essential elements for all plant life. Our fertilizer includes potassium in the form of potash. Potash is a potassium-rich salt that is mined from underground deposits formed from evaporated sea beds millions of years ago. Potash improves the overall quality of the plant and increases the vigor of the plant cell wall which helps going into the winter, especially if it is a harsh winter. It also helps the plant fight stress and disease.
A Vitamin Pack
The seven micro-nutrients are like a “vitamin pack” for your plants. This boost of “vitamins” helps your plants recoup from the heat and drought stress of summer, and damage from disease and insects. Applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the fall also helps protect your trees and shrubs from potential winter damage.
As a result of proper fertilization provided in our Tree & Shrub Program, your plants will have brighter blooms and greener greens in the spring. They will have a longer lifespan and be less susceptible to insects and disease.
In addition to fertilization, fall is a good time to prune. Proper pruning is vital to the health of trees and plants, in part because it helps relieve stress on trees and keeps them growing. We do not offer this service, but be aware that each tree and shrub is different and may have different ideal times for pruning.
Applying mulch around the base of your trees and shrubs is good for their health, especially young plants. Mulching insulates a plant’s roots helping protect it from the approaching cold weather. It also helps the soil retain moisture and organic matter.
Fall is the prime time to plant balled and burlapped trees and shrubs. After cooler weather has set in, conditions are perfect for stimulating root growth in the new plants. Once roots are established throughout the fall and dormancy of winter, spring precipitation and summer warmth encourage new top growth. All bare root plants should be planted later in the season, when they are completely dormant.
Although the summer heat has passed, your plants can still suffer from drought stress. Young trees and shrubs (1-2 years old) appreciate reliable moisture—1” or so of water a week. Evergreens benefit from abundant watering in the fall. In fact, some garden experts say that fall is the most important time to water these plants. If they don’t get enough moisture in fall, they’re much more likely to suffer winter damage. When watering your trees and shrubs, focus on the roots. Wetting foliage is pointless and can actually promote the spread of disease. Just as with your lawn, water in the morning (6-10am) and water deeply and infrequently. You want the soil to be moist but not drenched.
For more information about our year-round Tree & Shrub Program, contact us today. We look forward to providing total landscape protection.