With summertime upon us, many of us will be enjoying outdoor activities while soaking up the bright summer sun’s rays. After a while in the sun, finding shade under a big leafy tree is the perfect escape from summertime heat. Trees in summer offer a cool breeze and some much-needed shade during those hot summer days. So how do we keep our trees healthy during the summertime heat? Mr. Tree has some great tips on caring for your trees in summer.
Watering a tree seems like a simple enough task. However, there’s more to watering a tree than meets the eye. There’s a common misconception that nature provides enough moisture from rainy days to sustain trees. This isn’t the case. Trees do need to be regularly watered in order to keep them healthy, especially through the hot summer months.
You will need to keep the ground moist by using a deep watering method. When you use the deep watering method, you’re ensuring the water travels deep into the soil, reaching the whole root system and enticing the roots to grow deeper into the soil instead of growing along the surface. An easy way to deeply water a tree is to use a soaker hose that allows a steady drip of water. Wrap it in a loose spiral around the tree just past the edge of the tree branches above.
Allow the drip hose to run for about an hour three times a week for newly planted trees and as needed for established trees that have rooted for at least two years. You can tell when an established tree needs water when the soil around the tree is dry about two inches below the soil surface. You can test the soil’s moisture by digging a small hole with a gardening trowel and sticking your finger into the hole. If the soil is dry, you’ll need to water the tree. You don’t want to overwater your tree. The soil around the tree should be damp but not soggy. If the soil is dry, then it’s time to water.
Though mulching is usually put down around trees in the spring, it’s not too late to lay mulch in the summer. Putting mulch around a tree helps protect the soil from growing weeds, which would compete for nutrients the tree needs to survive if allowed to grow by the tree roots. Mulch also helps regulate soil temperature, which in turn keeps the soil’s moisture intact, allowing the tree roots to hydrate as needed. By covering the soil with about a four-inch layer of mulch in the shape of a donut around the tree base, you will help minimize the need for watering and keep the soil full of all the things needed to keep your tree happy and healthy.
Be sure not to put any mulch up against the base of the tree, as this can cause tree rot, which can cause disease to spread and attract pests to your tree. Mulch is also pleasing to the eye, so it adds a landscaped look to your yard with the added benefit of protecting soil health for your trees in summer.
It’s common for trees to suffer during the summertime from soil compaction. Trees will start to have yellowing leaves or smaller leaves will grow. You’ll notice your trees aren’t producing as much shade as they usually do. Often, when trees are showing signs of stress, the first assumption is that it’s caused by disease or pests, and chemicals are oftentimes added or fertilizer put down in an attempt at saving a stressed tree. The less well-known cause of stressed trees, especially in the summertime, is soil compaction.
When there’s excessive foot traffic over the root base of a tree, the soil gets pressed down, and the soil particles are pressed tightly together, leaving no room for oxygen or water to be stored. This leaves the tree without access to water or oxygen, and that’s when it’ll start to show signs of stress. Soil compaction can happen for a variety of reasons, such as cars driving over a tree root base, flooding in an area, or just lack of drainage.
If you suspect your tree is suffering from soil compaction issues in your garden, contact us at Mr. Tree. We can assess the tree and determine the reason for the stress. If it’s determined the soil is too compacted and causing the tree’s health issues, we can see if small changes are enough, such as adding extra mulch and watering more frequently, or if more extreme measures are required, such as using equipment to aerate the soil properly.
Even healthy-looking trees can have a pest problem. Tree infestations are often discovered when it’s too late to save the tree. Detecting critters early can be extremely beneficial when trying to remove them. Check your trees weekly by looking for things such as boreholes, leaking tree sap, or dead bark. You may notice lots of dead branches around the tree. These are signs of a potential infestation issue. By catching the pests early, you could stop the spread to other trees as well.
Tree pruning is typically completed during the dormant early winter season, but sometimes, pruning trees in summer is needed. If a tree has dead or damaged branches, they should be removed even during active summer months. These branches cause risk to those walking below, or there could be potential property damage caused by falling branches, especially during storms. Removing dead and diseased branches also helps keep a tree healthy.
Remember to have your larger trees pruned by a professional arborist. We can help with all of your tree pruning needs. If you’re in need of a professional arborist, don’t hesitate to reach out to Mr. Tree.