6 Tips for Summer Tree Care

6 Tips for Summer Tree Care

Summer tree care essentials
Summer tree care essentials

Properly caring for your trees throughout the summer months results in a happy, healthy landscape. Whether it’s tree trimming, pest inspections, or watering trees, summer is the perfect time to follow these six tree care tips.

1. Mulching:
If you didn’t get to mulch your trees this spring, it’s not too late. Mulching trees is an important step because it cuts down on weed competition, stabilizes soil temperatures, and helps conserve soil moisture. Mulch trees with three to four inches of shredded hardwood mulch. The proper method of mulching trees is to form a donut shape around the base of the tree; do not mound mulch against the trunk as it promotes disease and insect issues.

2. Irrigation:
During the hot, dry weather of summer, watering trees may be necessary, especially if your trees are young or newly planted. Trees need an average of one inch of water per week. When watering trees, deeper, less-frequent applications of water promote better root growth than shallow, more-frequent irrigation.

3. Fertilization:
Another step in caring for summer trees is making sure they have ample nutrition to support leaf and shoot growth, and fend off pests and diseases. Trees growing in high-stress areas, such as urban or suburban environments, often have greater fertilization needs than trees growing in natural areas.

4. Pruning:
Tree pruning is as much art as it is science. While the majority of tree trimming should occur during the dormant season, there are a few times when summer tree pruning is necessary. First, anytime there are diseased, dead, or damaged branches present, they should be pruned out for both the health of the tree and safety reasons. Second, trees that flower in the spring are best pruned in the early summer, as soon as they finish blooming. This list includes magnolias, flowering cherries, and lilacs. And remember, large trees are best pruned by professionals.

5. Tree pest inspections:
Examine trees for pest infestations on a regular basis throughout the summer. While the vast majority of insects are not harmful to trees, discovering any potential tree pest problems early gives you a leg up on controlling them. Pests such as magnolia scale, bagworms, Japanese beetles, aphids, and spider mites are active during the summer months. These tree pests can be identified with help from your local cooperative extension service as well as certified arborists.

6. Storm damage prevention:
Summer is the season for thunderstorms and heavy winds. To protect your property from falling tree limbs, consult with an arborist to assess the safety of your large trees. Cabling or bracing trees with weak limbs, or removing weak limbs completely, may be necessary.

Use these six summer tree care tips to keep your trees healthy and growing strong.

WHAT TO DO IF A STORM DAMAGED MY TREE?

A roar of thunder, an electrifying strike of lighting or a vicious gust of wind—while we stay indoors, our trees are forced to weather the storm.

We already do our best to keep trees in tip-top shape, so they’re protected from storm damage. But what if they still fall victim to the elements?

Whether light or severe, storm damage to trees can be alarming. Read on to find essential steps for inspection and repair if your tree is injured during a storm.

Repairing Storm Damaged Trees

First and foremost, your safety is the top priority. If storm damage left large hanging branches or broken power lines, call us.  That limb could fall at any moment, and broken power lines could still be live, so avoid them at all costs.

How to Inspect a Storm Damaged Tree

After a storm, walk around your tree and look for these danger signs:

  • Hanging or broken branches
  • Splits in tree branches
  • Broken or uneven tree top, called the canopy
  • Decay, holes, splits or cavities in tree trunk
  • Heaving soil at the base of the tree
  • Pulled or visible root system
  • Uprooted or toppled tree
  • Entire tree leaning

If you spot any of these signs, it’s usually best to phone a professional because your tree poses a risk and could fall or break at any time. Use your discretion, and know a certified arborist can help with every step of the process. They can clean up storm debris, repair damaged spots by pruning and determine if your tree needs to be removed.

Or if you’re curious, learn more about the most common tree injuries and what to do next below.

What to Do When You Find a Broken Tree Limb

  1. Prune small, broken branches to prevent further damage. Pests see an opening in the tree as an invitation to settle in, which can be especially harmful as your tree needs extra strength to heal.
  2. Do not attempt to prune large branches or branches that are too high up.
  3. Prune broken limbs back to the point where they join a larger branch. If there are strips of bark protruding at the breaking point, remove the branch and smooth the wood with a saw.
  4. For injuries like those in #2 and #3,call a professional, so the tree heals correctly and no one gets hurt.

 

How to Save a Split Tree

  1. Minor splits on branches that are not hanging or otherwise deformed should heal on their own. Think of these as small paper cuts that will be better before you know it!
  2. If the split looks like a gash and is still connected to an unharmed branch, smooth the bark out to help the healing process. Think of these splits as more serious injuries that need stitches to heal.
  3. Severe splits on larger branches or the trunk aren’t an easy fix. These splits are like if you broke your finger and cut it badly–a bandage just won’t cut it at this point. You need to go to the doctor, and the same is true for your tree.
  1. For splits listed in #2 and #3–or if you’re not sure how severe the split is–it’s always better to phone for help sooner than later.

 

  1. What to Do if the Top of the Tree Broke Off
  1. Do not top the tree–even if limbs in the tree’s canopy broke off. Cutting off the top of a tree can significantly alter its structure and leave it vulnerable to infestation.
  2. Assess whether most of the tree’s crown is still intact.
  3. If at least 50 percent of your tree’s canopy is undamaged, it can usually stay afloat–with help from your local arborist. But if your tree lost more than 50 percent of its top, it may have to be removed.
  4. BJS Tree Service can give you a definite answer and provide next steps after seeing the tree in person.

Suspect your tree is in trouble? Request a free consultation to get an expert inspection and best next steps.

 

 

Top 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Tree Care Service

top 10 questions for Tree Care
Mark Chisholm

By Mark Chisholm, certified arborist

When it comes to tree care, some jobs are too big and too dangerous, or just need professional expertise to keep the tree healthy. My rule of thumb: unless you can work with both feet on terra firma, you should hire a professional tree service. Working at height requires proper training and protection due to a number of risky variables such as electrical wires, wildlife, nearby fences, buildings or homes. Of course, hiring a tree service comes with its own set of risks. To get your money’s worth and protect your interests, you need to ask your tree care professional these important questions and make sure you understand and agree with their answers.

  1. Will they provide an up-to-date certificate of insurance and a copy of their work contract?This should be your first and most important question. You want to ensure they are properly insured and that you will not be liable for damage, accidents or injuries.
  2. What are their credentials?Try to hire a company with an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist, a Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Accredited Business or one employing a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP). Will they be working in proximity to electrical conductors? If so, they will need to be Approved Line-Clearance Arborists.
  3. Can they provide a list of references?Any quality company will be happy to share a list of satisfied customers. Ask for customers that they have done work for in the past month or so; you don’t want ancient history.
  4. Will they give you a detailed estimate?Get written estimates from three equal companies to compare prices and understand the scope of the job, which leads into the next question.
  5. How will the job be approached and what equipment will they use?You don’t want massive power equipment driving over your lawn and flowerbeds causing collateral damage unnecessarily. If they are going across your lawn, make sure they know the locations of sprinkler heads or other objects that may be damaged. What is their policy if they damage something and is it acceptable to you? It may be a good idea to photograph the area before work begins so you have a record in case there is damage. Make sure you understand how they will clean up during and after the job.
  6. How long will the project take?This is why getting an estimate is handy. One company might say three days while another company says three hours.
  7. Does the company appear professional?What does their company truck look like, is it well taken care of? Is the truck clean and in good shape? If they don’t take care of their equipment, do you think they will take care of your tree and property? Do they have a website? Design and content can give you a sense of their professionalism, as can the appearance of the vehicles they use on jobs. That can give you an idea of how they run their business.
  8. Do they use spikes to climb trees while pruning?Unless you’re removing the trees, demand they not use spikes, which causes unhealthy wounds.
  9. Do they advertise “topping” (removing live sections from the top of the tree)?This is another poor practice, particularly for large, healthy hardwood trees and would indicate that you should continue your search.
  10. Will the crew be using hardhats and other personal protective equipment while on your property?The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that personal protective equipment be used for any tree care operation. A reputable tree care service will require their workers to be protected.

It’s important to protect yourself and your property by hiring a tree care professional for dangerous jobs. It’s equally important to protect yourself and your “tree investment” by asking these top ten important questions. For more information, including resources to help you find a tree care service, visit www.bjstreeservices.com