Now that the fall season is upon us and you are getting ready for a cold and wet winter, it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to protect your beautiful trees from the wrath of wind, rain, and ice. Caring for your trees can ensure they have long and healthy lives. After all, trees are a valuable investment and play a vital role in enhancing the value of your home and neighborhood. They also keep the air around us clean and provide shade from harsh summers.
If you have questions about Oregon tree care during the fall season, here’s a handy guide prepared by the expert arborists at Mr. Tree.
Pay Attention to Mulching
Mulch is like a blanket for trees during the winter months. Apart from keeping the soil warm, it also enriches the soil with essential nutrients. However, don’t add the mulch to the trunk directly, as that can result in fungal growth. Instead, create a 6- to 12-inch mulch-free ring. Then apply the mulch three to six inches deep around the tree.
Be careful not to create a mulch volcano around the tree.
Think About the Watering Needs of Your Tree
Every tree needs water. But if you have newly planted trees, you need to be extra careful to get them ready for the winter months ahead. Make sure to give your trees a good soak during fall so that they have enough in store for the winter months.
How you water the trees is just as important too. Don’t overload the trees with water. Instead, use a slower watering technique. Use a five-gallon bucket and drill a hole near the edge. Once you fill the bucket, allow the slowly leaking bucket to water the trees gently. You can do this three to four times per tree and keep moving the bucket.
Don’t Forget Pruning
Pruning is a critical part of your fall Oregon tree care. It’s important to get rid of diseased or dying branches before the strong winter winds hit and they become a danger to people and property. And unlike many people think, pruning is a lot more than haphazardly removing branches off a tree. Improper pruning can structurally damage your tree and even make it a public hazard. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service defines a hazard tree as “a tree with structural defects likely to cause the failure of all or part of the tree.”
Here’s the bottom line—pruning is an art and is best left to professional arborists. Unless you are sure about how much to prune without compromising the overall structure of your tree, it’s best to leave it to the experts.
This is where the expert arborists at Mr. Tree can help. Our experienced professionals use state-of-the-art tools to prune your trees and use the appropriate pruning techniques to maintain structural integrity and aesthetics.
Look Out for Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a hazard for your tree roots. They can attack and completely destroy the tree or make it unstable.
Make sure to thoroughly inspect your trees during the fall season to get rid of mushroom growth. Pay special attention to the base of the tree. Don’t overwater the trees, as mushrooms love moist conditions. Avoid soil compaction and use organic soil matter that promotes the growth of healthy mycorrhizal fungi.
Get Rid of the Leaf Pile
There is no doubt that leaves look gorgeous in the autumn season. But by the end of fall, you’ll find them all over the ground. To prevent snow mold development, make sure to rake the leaves periodically. You can also use the leaves in a compost bin to create homemade mulch or compost.
Just make sure to flip the leaves every month using a garden fork to provide aeration.
Look for Borers
Fall is the time of the year when borers are on the hunt for trees so that they can spend a comfortable winter. If you wait until the warmer months to look for infestation, the damage will already be done. Borers are known as one of the most destructive pests and can infest a wide variety of tree species. A telltale sign of a tree borer infestation is a tunnel hole created by borers. These can be round, oval, or semicircular and appear in a random pattern.
A possible treatment option is applying contact insecticide and soil treatment. It can help with both active borers and also prevent future infestations. But if the infestation is severe, it’s best to clear out the entire tree to avoid the damaged branches or trunk falling.
Cable the Trees
Oregon is no stranger to snow or ice storms. So prepare your trees for heavy winds or storms during the winter season by installing tree cabling during fall. Cables can stabilize the physical structure of trees, especially those that cannot support their own weight. Cables also minimize the chances of limb failure for a healthy tree with weaker crotches and oddly shaped trees to preserve their structural integrity.
If you are worried about cabling spoiling the overall aesthetics of your trees, you can keep them out of sight. Cabling can be extremely subtle, as the cables are strategically placed between the branches for proper weight distribution. They are not wrapped around trees individually.
Think About the Root Health
Don’t forget to include roots in your Oregon tree care during the fall checklist. Unfortunately, roots tend to be tricky, as they are underground and may be damaged even before you have a chance to discover the problem. Make sure to add a slow-release fertilizer so that it can slowly keep adding nutrients to the tree throughout the winter season. With constant access to quality nutrients, your trees will thrive in winter and the following seasons.
Also, make sure to reduce irrigation in those points where the soil feels moist and cool to the touch. Suffocated roots are the perfect ecosystem for the spread of root disease.
We hope these tips make it easy for you to care for your trees during fall and to give them some extra TLC.