Autumn; the season where some trees put on their most dazzling display yet, before becoming dormant throughout the winter months.
However, this time of year presents more than just pretty autumnal colours as the leaves change. Autumn is a very important time in the calendar for arborists, and indeed anyone who cares for and maintains trees.
The dropping temperatures, increased wind and rain, and leaf fall mean that your trees are going to need some extra care to ensure that they thrive come spring and summer.
With a collective industry knowledge of over 30 years, you could say we’re experienced when it comes to this kind of thing! We’ve come together and compiled a list of our top 5 autumnal tree care tips, which you can find below:
1. Risk Assessment
Since autumn usually brings a lot of turbulent weather, especially here in sunny Wales, it’s important to examine your trees for any damaged, diseased, dead, or unstable branches. These pose huge risks not only to properties or cars nearby, but also to human life, so it’s important to identify any problem areas and deal with them accordingly.
If parts of the tree need to be removed, then it’s best to call in the professionals! If you don’t really know what you’re doing, then you could damage the tree and invite disease, which may eventually kill the tree. So, if you’re in doubt, give us a call and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Also falling under this category are new, younger trees that you may have recently planted. While their branches should still be healthy, smaller trees are very susceptible to bending under strong winds, which can damage their root structure. A simple solution to this is by securing the young tree to a stake, which should be firmly pushed into the earth.
As the leaves fall, this presents an excellent opportunity to really see the inner structure of the tree branches. You’ll want to cut back any that are crossing over other branches, creating an almost bowl-like effect. This will ensure that the centre of the tree gets plenty of light come spring and summer, resulting in a stronger and healthier tree.
There is less of a risk of damaging trees through pruning in autumn, as most will be dormant. However, you’ll need to be careful when pruning young trees at this time of year, especially young fruit trees.
When you prune fruit trees in the autumn, it actually encourages growth during the winter, which can be detrimental to young fruit trees as they won’t have had enough time to harden for the frost. This could leave them exposed to frost damage, which can, unfortunately, kill a tree. If you have any young trees, it’s best to wait until spring to give them a prune.
3. Add a blanket of mulch
When we say mulch acts as a blanket, we mean it! Not only does it help to insulate your trees when the cold weather comes, protecting them against the hard frosts, mulch is also fantastic for helping your trees to retain valuable water.
Mulch is best applied in late autumn or early winter so that it has time to protect the roots below the surface before the hard frosts arrive. You can also make your own mulch from shredded bark, grass clippings, straw, and other compostable materials.
4. Don’t forget to water
Before they go dormant, your trees should be properly hydrated to survive through the winter period, so early autumn is a great time to get those last waterings in! When it comes to fruit trees, you should ideally stop watering those altogether when it gets to mid-October.
Some trees, however, will need occasional watering through the winter to keep them healthy, as ground frost can prevent water from reaching tree roots. If the ground is frozen and you’re worried about the hydration of your tree, then you can make some holes in the ground to allow water to reach the roots.
5. Add new life!
While spring is a popular time to plant new trees, certain varieties thrive in autumn! Some trees and shrubs are hardy against the frost and will survive the cold winter months, giving you wonderful greenery in the spring and summer months!
Regarding fruit trees, autumn is the perfect opportunity to expand your orchard if you have one! Just check that any new fruit trees are compatible with existing varieties to ensure cross-pollination, yielding bountiful crops come summer.
Hopefully, this blog has given you a little bit of guidance on how to maintain and care for your trees during the autumn months. As you can see, there’s a lot more to be done than most people realise!
If you have any branches that need removing due to disease or instability, then it’s best to contact a local tree surgeon to take a look. Luckily for you, we know one! We’re happy to help with any aspect of tree care, regardless of the season. If in doubt, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01792 885184 for any tree-related questions or concerns!