Tree-care is a year-round responsibility, but it is important to note that your trees need different things during different times of the year. And while one could argue that trees growing in southern California experience summer-like conditions on a more-or-less constant basis, there are a few special things you’ll want to do to prepare for the summer’s peak.
Every tree and growing location is different, so it is always important to be flexible and tailor your approach to suit your specific trees. However, you’ll likely find that the following four tips help keep your trees healthier and looking their best all summer long.
1. Apply a fresh layer of mulch over the roots.
Mulch helps to keep your trees – especially their roots – healthy in a variety of ways. However, mulch’s ability to shield the roots from high temperatures and to retain soil moisture are the two most important ways it can help in the summertime.
There are a variety of different mulches you can use, but organic, bark- or wood-based mulches are generally the best choices. Just make sure that you spread a 2- to 4-inch-thick layer around as much of the root zone as possible, and avoid piling mulch up against the tree trunk, as this can encourage fungal and bacterial growth.
2. Develop an irrigation plan.
Southern California’s summers are notoriously dry, and rain only falls sporadically. Some trees are capable of withstanding drought-like conditions without any supplemental irrigation, but others will need a helping hand if they’re to survive the summer.
Research the water needs of your trees if you aren’t already familiar with them and devise a plan to suit their needs. If your trees are likely to need some extra water, figure out how you will provide it – even if water restrictions are enacted. There are a number of highly efficient ways to water trees, including, most notably, drip irrigation systems, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your friendly neighborhood arborist if you need some help.
3. Ensure that your tree’s roots and trunk are protected.
When the kids are out of school and the tourist season is in full swing, your trees may become exposed to a lot more foot traffic. They may even fall victim to vandalism or deliberate damage. And while you can’t completely protect your trees from these threats, you’ll want to do everything you can to shield them from harm.
Mulch will help protect a tree’s roots from minor foot traffic, but you may want to install fences or other types of barriers if your tree lies along a well-trodden path. You may even be able to install other plants to help keep people away from the trunks and roots of your trees – a couple of prickly holly shrubs can convince most casual passersby from getting too close.
4. Inspect the tree’s health while the canopy is full.
Crown dieback – characterized by dead or dying branches in the canopy — is one of the most common signs of failing health or stress, and it is important to regularly inspect your trees for it. However, it can be difficult to do so for deciduous trees, which shed their leaves in the winter.
However, the summer provides the perfect time to take a look at the canopies of your trees, as the tree should be exhibiting the greatest leaf density at this time. If you note any dead branches, be sure to have an arborist inspect the tree at once.
If you are concerned that your trees won’t take this summer in stride, give your friends at Evergreen Arborist Consultants a call. We’ll send one of our arborists out to inspect your trees and recommend the best strategies for keeping them healthy throughout the hot and dry weather to come. We may even notice subtle signs that indicate imminent problems, thereby allowing you to treat them proactively and avoid headaches down the line.