It’s summertime. Time to get outside and play.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying the outdoors and walking through a forest go hand in hand. Trees are a big part of our lives. They are part of our culture.
When you own a home, no matter how large or small your yard is, you probably have a tree or two. They give our homes curb appeal. They create landscaping we love.
But keeping them as part of your landscaping requires regular maintenance. You have to understand what each tree needs throughout the year.
In general, trees are hearty plants. Once rooted, they can flourish for decades, even hundreds of years. They were here and thriving long before humans. And they will continue to thrive.
When you plant them in your landscaping, however, they do require special care. They aren’t wild and flourishing in a forest with hundreds of other trees. Instead, they are planted to be a part of your home. They have to look good. They can provide shade and nutrients to other life around them. But if you don’t pay attention, your trees can also quickly become a hazard.
Summer is especially hard on trees. They face the heat of the summer. In some cases, they can withstand record temperatures, over and over again. They can face drought. They can even be impacted by winds, storms, smoke, and fires from neighboring communities. Tree needs escalate in these circumstances.
What should you do to ensure your tree has a long life?
Start by Planting the Right Tree
The best way to care for your tree is to plant the perfect tree for your yard. Just because you love a tree doesn’t mean it’s right for your circumstances. Different trees have different needs to thrive.
The best way to start is by doing a little research. Luckily, we have a lot of information right here on our blog. Check out a few of the articles we’ve written on planting trees:
- The Perfect Native Flowering Trees and Shrubs for Your Yard
- 5 Trees that Attract Honeybees
- Are Privacy Trees the Answer You’ve Been Looking For?
- Best Trees to Attract Birds that Are Threatened or Endangered
- What Are the Different Kinds of Pine Trees?
- The Maple Tree Varieties You Can Add to Your Property
Finding the right tree is just the start of the process. Once you’ve selected the right tree for your landscaping, be sure to plant it in the perfect spot. You don’t want it too close to your home, power lines, or other obstructions that will give you problems as it grows and tries to thrive. The space should receive the right amount of sun and have more than enough room for its full-grown canopy.
Be careful where you dig. You don’t want to come too close to underground utility lines. Or hurt the root systems of other trees and shrubs. You should also be careful not to dig too deeply. Not sure? We can help.
Water Your Tree Appropriately
Living in Portland, most people would never say we lack water. It rains for months on end.
But once the summer months get into full swing, it can be weeks before a drop hits the ground. And while some trees might be able to weather lack of moisture, other trees can be hurt by long periods of drought.
Just like other plants in your landscaping, your tree needs water to thrive. Your tree is designed for curb appeal, to provide beauty and ambiance. And that means it’s going to need regular maintenance to look its best.
In general, a mature tree needs about an inch of water per week. If you’ve planted the tree in the last year or two, it will need up to 10 gallons of water a week during its first two growing seasons. The idea is to give the roots the best possible base to thrive.
While ensuring your trees get the water they need is important, it’s also a good idea to give them an environment where they can get what they need from around them. Mulch is part of that process. Mulch can help keep the tree’s roots healthy in a variety of ways.
First, mulch adds protection to the root system. When the temperatures outside move into the 90s, even 100s, mulch protects the roots from the heat. It provides insulation to keep the root system cool.
It also helps the soil retain moisture. Every time you water the tree, the moisture soaks into the ground and is protected by mulch from being absorbed back into the air. This puts your tree at less risk over time.
There are a variety of mulch products you can use for your tree needs. We feel organic, bark, or wood-based varieties are your best choice. Make sure you spread a blanket of mulch around the tree in a two to four-inch layer. Avoid piling too much up against the trunk of the tree, as this can allow fungal or bacterial growth to set in.
When trees grow in a forest, they get all the nutrients they need from the environment around them. The strong survive. The rest die out.
But when they are part of your landscaping, there are different tree needs. In the fall, you rake away leaves. You mow your yard and remove grass clippings and other debris. That can have a lasting impact on your tree.
Fertilizer works to overcome the nutrients your tree misses from natural processes. Apply a slow-release fertilizer on a regular basis. This is where we can provide expert help and give your trees exactly what they need. This isn’t about shopping at a big box store and selecting a generic fertilizer. It’s about finding out what your soil is missing and giving your tree the proper nutrients it needs at all times of the year, not just during the warm summer months.
While trees in the forest grow at their own pace, often taking shape depending on the surrounding area, we want trees in our landscaping perfectly shaped. That means proper trimming throughout the year.
Pruning is an important part of the tree-needs process. Proper trimming improves trees’ structure without holding them back.
You should prune a tree when it’s dormant and doesn’t have any leaves. You should also prune a tree in the summer months, removing dead sections and giving it a clean line and shape. Of course, any time your tree receives damage is also an important part of the pruning process. Safety should always be a top concern.
Ready for a Checkup?
How is your tree doing as we head into the summer months? What tree needs does your landscaping have?
After a quick checkup, if you notice things that have changed since last year, be sure to schedule your maintenance visit early. It can be the difference between giving your trees new life and having to take them out because of disease.
Schedule your appointment with Mr. Tree today.