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- Tree care activities can be done at many different times of the year, but there are times when each activity provides the most benefits. The timing of these activities vary by area, but they are same with respect to the life cycle of the tree.
- The dormant times of a tree’s life, is a good time to move them from containers or natural settings to their new home. This period is generally from early Fall to Early Spring and can be determined by when deciduous trees do not have any leaves. During this time, the trees may still use of the energy stored in the roots, so care needs to be taken not to damage them. Planting should not be done when the ground is frozen or is expected to be frozen in a couple of days. During extreme cold conditions, planning for the upcoming season should be done.
- As the leaves begin to develop leaves, the limbs that need to be pruned should be determined. The actual pruning should be done as soon as the leaves have developed and the tree is actively growing. In this manner, the wound created by the pruning is able to seal quicker and deter the attack by insects, disease and weather. The pruning should be done along the branch collar and a correct prune will develop a perfect circle of wound wood. Pruning should be done to remove dead limbs, develop a desired shape and increase clearance.
- Also, during the early spring, soil tests should be to determine the fertilizer requirements. If any nutrients are deficient, they should be added as recommended by the soil test. The addition of mulches at this time, may provide the adequate amounts of nutrients while preventing grass from competing with the tree’s roots. The mulch will also remove the need for lawnmowers and weed eaters from coming close to the trunk. Spring is another time when additional trees could be planted, but these trees may require more water and support for the first year.
- As summer heat and possible drought conditions arrive, the leaves should be observed to notice signs of stress. These signs could be the lack of water (drooping), lack of nutrients (change in color), attack by insects (missing leaves or parts of leaves, the presence of galls, or droppings, or other signs) or attack by diseases (change in leave color or size, change in conditions of bark, or the lack of leaves in a portion of the tree). These signs would denote the need for immediate action to correct the problem and return the tree to a healthy condition. The main condition of tree stresses, inadequate water, could be easily corrected by providing at least one inch of water per week.
- When the trees begin to prepare for winter, the mulch should be checked and added to if needed. Additional tree planting should be planned and could be done before the winter arrives. Planting at this time of year could help the tree to develop roots before the rapid crown growth in the spring and could help the tree become more stable and reduce the need for staking. As with all planting, the mature size of the tree should be considered before planting occurs. Adequate clearance should be provided from all structures, especially homes and utilities lines.
- When doing any action to or around a tree, records should be kept to enable actuate diagnosis of what good and bad activities have been performed. If a tree dies, trying to remember what was one month or one year ago could be very difficult. Also, it could be very beneficial to remember what good activities were done to a particular trees or group of trees.