Cool mornings are turning to warm days as spring approaches. Your trees have likely noticed, and they are beginning to shake off their winter's slumber and send out new leaves. You can make sure your trees are in tip-top shape for summer by getting in some last minute spring care.
Time Your Trimming
Depending on the type of tree, late winter and early spring may be your last chance to get a full trim in until next year. Most evergreen trees and non-flowering deciduous trees do best with dormant winter pruning. You can usually prune as late as early spring if new growth hasn't begun yet. Flowering trees don't need to be pruned until after they finish flowering for the season.
When trimming a tree, cut back any dead or winter-damaged wood. Crossed, rubbing branches also need to be pruned off. You can control the length of the branches as well as the shape of the tree by trimming back the branch tips by up to a third of their length. Consult a tree trimming company like Mead Tree & Turf Care Inc if you have questions about a particular tree.
A Clean Start
Old, dead leaves can harbor insects and disease organisms over winter, which can then awake in spring and infest your trees and garden beds. If an early fall snowfall prevented you from a final raking last season, you need to get all the fall leaves up by spring. Rake right after you finish pruning, so you can make sure no small branches or other trimmings remain on the ground near your trees.
Tuck Them In
Mulch is like a warm blanket for tree roots. It keeps down weeds, insulates the soil, and preserves soil moisture. Wood chips and bark nuggets make a suitable mulch for most tree varieties. You can use pine straw for acid-loving tree varieties, such as most evergreens and azaleas.
Apply fresh mulch in spring. Cover the root zone of the tree, or at least the space within 5 feet of the trunk. When applying mulch, pull it back so it doesn't rest directly against the trunk. Mulch traps moisture, which can cause the trunk to rot.
The First Feeding
Regular watering and feeding returns with the first spring leaves. Most landscape trees don't require fertilizer if you fertilize nearby lawn or garden beds. If you do fertilize your trees individually, make the first application after the leaf buds have begun to unfurl.
Regular watering recommences as soon as the soil thaws and most freeze danger has passed. Deciduous trees can survive without irrigation when they are dormant, but evergreens benefit from watering even on mild days in the winter. When watering your trees in spring, soak the soil deeply once every week to 10 days.
Most trees survive winter unscathed, only requiring the most basic care to get them back in nice form for spring and summer.