Not only is your usual maintenance important, but it’s also time to protect against and look for the kinds of things can that hold your trees back; things like diseases, infections, pests and the like.
Getting off to a good start in the spring is essential. More specifically – it’s most important to get a start to the start. And as such – that’s what we’re here to discuss today. Imagine it’s day #1 – it’s a balmy, bikini weather-esque 55 degrees out. You’re emerging from your winter tree loving hibernation. It’s time to get to work.
Here’s what you should be doing first:
Between fall and winter, a lot of buildup can often get left behind on your lawn and around your trees. Your spring should always begin how your fall ended: with raking the remnants of the debris fields of seasons’ past. That means picking up hitchhiker leaves, picking up twigs and other fallen detritus that have made their way to the ground and found a home under the snow during the winter.
This is a particularly boring, but meaningful task – because it’s in all of the previous season’s shrapnel that you’ll find all sorts of baddies – from lingering and emerging fungi to pest eggs and the like. And when they wake up, they’ll be hungry. So be sure to clear that excess as quickly as possible.
In addition – if you wrapped your tree over the winter, now’s the time to remove them before excess moisture builds up. While you wrapped the tree over the winter to make sure the tree maintained it’s moisture, in the Spring, that practice can cross over into the ‘too much of a good thing’ territory quickly. So remove those wraps so your tree doesn’t get sick.
We know that mulching is something we consistently beat you over the head with – but at nearly every time during the growth cycle – it can be a tremendous asset to a tree’s overall health and wellbeing. Mulch is particularly useful in the early growth seasons like spring, as it helps the soil maintain proper moisture levels and suppresses the multitude of weeds that can pop up during this period. It helps raise the things we want to the top, while mitigating the risks of all those nasty things we can find at the bottom.
As is considered the standard – try to go for something like a 3-inch thick layer around the trees – but not directly up against them. While you want to maintain moisture levels in the tree and the trees soil, too much mulch can actually trap the moisture, leading to fungus, infection and the like. So be careful about how much you use.
Once the soil has thawed, it’s time to get to work watering your plants. Watering during this season is a bit different from others, so here are some key areas for you to focus:
Make sure you really water the areas and trees that had salt or other snow removal chemicals were laid. The excess water helps wash away all the salt-laden materials that have made worked their way into the soil over the course of the winter.
Don’t let your trees dry out. Especially if you live in really dry areas or have sandy soil, you’re going to have to water frequently.
Check out any of your water lines – like sprinklers, hoses and the like. Making sure those are in good shape can be good news for you, your outdoors space and trees for a good, long time.
Water is the key ingredient for all life so make sure you get on a set schedule as soon as possible!
Pruning & inspection
Once you’ve placed yourself on a watering plan and have cleaned up the areas around your trees – it’s time to look at you trees, specifically. While it’s not a good job to prune in a traditional sense, you can search for dead, damaged and broken branches in the spring and deal with them accordingly.
A word to the wise though – or more like a warning: Stay away from the stuff that’s alive! By pruning those areas of a tree, you can expose the interiors of trees to infection and especially in the Spring season where the risk is that much higher, it’s important to avoid that at all costs. Stick to the dead, dying and drooping appendages of your trees only.
The second thing to do is to look for signs of disease or damage. We suggest looking for animal damage on the bottom of the tree near the root structures, etc. On the flip side, you’ll see more disease related damage on the trunk of the tree a little bit higher up. As always if you suspect something is wrong or it makes you feel unsafe about the tree’s future, then it’s most definitely time to call a professional and seek out their advice. The earlier you get on the problem, the healthier your tree will be!
So get outside and enjoy the warmer weather! Stick to this as your starting point and you’ll be setting a solid foundation for a sensational growth season early in the cycle.