Having a lawn full of beautiful trees is a great way to increase the attractiveness and value of your home, but like any living creature, your trees require care and proper maintenance in order to thrive, especially when they are first planted. Nature can be tough on new trees, and if they don’t get what they need, they’ll die before they ever get a chance to flourish.

Winter

Winter isn’t just a miserable time for people – it’s extremely harsh on your trees as well. They are subject to all sorts of injuries during cold winters. Sunscald is one of the most common types of damage found in trees during the winter, and is caused by rapidly changing temperatures that can sometimes kill the living tissues that exist beneath the bark. Sunscald is most frequently seen in younger trees that have not yet developed a thick bark.

Excess snow or ice can weigh branches down, which can cause them to break off on younger trees. Frost cracks are also common; these are caused by a weakness in the bark that makes it susceptible to freezing water. Frost cracks can be extremely loud, often sounding like a gunshot as the bark violently rips open in a large chasm across the trunk of the tree.

While you can’t protect your newly planted or older trees completely from cold weather, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances that they will be injured. Making sure your trees have the proper amount of water is one thing you can control, and it will go a long way toward helping them survive the winter. However, you should be careful to avoid over fertilizing or overwatering your trees, as faster growth makes a tree more susceptible to snow, ice, and wind damage.

To avoid frost cracking, you can wrap young trees with a cold weather tree blanket. This will help regulate the temperature of the bark and make it less likely to experience a rapid change in temperature, which is the most common cause of frost cracks. You should also prune any weak branches that may collapse under the weight of excess snow and ice.

Summer

While trees naturally thrive and experience the most growth during summer, they are still susceptible to damaging elements of nature, including insects and diseases.

Obviously, trees need the most water during the summer, especially newly planted ones that haven’t had a chance to mature and develop a strong root system. Similar to the way sweat works in humans, trees cool themselves through a process called transpiration which releases water from their leaves. If the tree doesn’t have enough water, its leaves will become wilted, scorched, and eventually die. Pay attention to the weather — if your area is experiencing a drought, you should definitely manually water your trees.

Sometimes your trees may get too much water during the warm months, particularly if your area is prone to flooding. After a flood, your trees may lose their leaves and will be covered in a layer of silt. The loss of leaves is usually a temporary reaction to the excessive water, and most trees will regain their leaves a short period of time. Do not attempt to use a nitrogen based fertilizer in an attempt to bring the tree back quicker – damaged trees require a period of dormancy in order to properly recover before they can begin growing again.

When mulching a newly planted tree in the spring or summer, be careful to not use too much. Many first time tree-planters build a massive mound of mulch around the tree, which can kill the roots and bark of the tree and lead to insect infestations. A proper spread of mulch should be a 3x3x3: 3 inches deep and spread out in a 3-foot radius around the trunk of the tree, with a 3 inch gap between the mulch and the trunk itself.  Gold Star Landscaping has been serving Williamson and Davidson counties in Middle Tennessee for over 25 years.