During the long, cold winter, trees become dormant, and this natural process protects them from the harsh winter elements. Now that spring will be arriving soon, trees will be "awakening" in the near future. While trees determine when to awaken from dormancy by taking cues from mother nature, tree dormancy season for most tree species typically ends in the month of April. After they awaken, it is very important to nurture them to help them recover from winter stress and even winter damage.
Read on to learn three important steps to nurturing your trees back into great health this spring to give them a great start to the season.
1. Have All Trees Inspected for Damage Inflicted By Ice, Snow, and Pests
Even if you took great care to prepare your trees for the winter, unfortunately, you can't completely protect them from the winter elements. The colder, icier, and snowier the area of the country you live in, the more likely your trees are to suffer from winter damage inflicted by the harsh elements. In addition, if you did not treat your trees with a long-acting pesticide when winterizing them, they could have been munched on by pest insects.
While you can inspect and prune small starter trees yourself, if you know what to look for, removing dead and damaged branches from your taller trees should be left to the professionals. Call a local tree service and ask for an expert to come out and inspect your trees, trim dead and damaged branches, and provide a recommendation for a good tree pesticide that works well to eradicate local wood-eating pests.
2. Give Your Trees a Big Drink of Water to Hydrate and Flush Winter Salt From the Soil
After the ground has thawed, your trees are in need of a big drink of water to help get their season off to a great start. If you notice that water is not penetrating the ground when you first try to water your trees, then that is a sign that the ground is still frozen underneath and you should try to water again in about a week. Once you notice that water is penetrating the soil deeply, you should aim to moisten the top 8 inches of soil very well.
Also, if you have trees with root systems close to areas of your yard, the road, or a sidewalk that were treated with chemical de-icers or salt this winter, irrigate the soil extra well around those trees to help flush the salt out of the soil that is surrounding the trees' roots.
Once you are done watering for the first time this season, apply a slow-release fertilizer to the soil surrounding your trees' roots to provide them extra nourishment all spring and summer long. Your trees' root systems can span up to a radius of 12.5 feet surrounding the tree, so make sure to cover this full 500-square foot area with good fertilizer.
3. Apply a Hearty Layer of Mulch Around at the Base of Each Tree
Even the best tree caretakers often overlook the importance of mulch for tree health. Mulch offers numerous benefits to trees of all ages because trees thrive when there is a layer of organic matter covering the soil above their root systems. Mulch helps hold in moisture that your trees obtain both when you water them and when it rains, shields the trees' roots from hot, drying sunlight, discourages growth of weeds that steal nutrients from your trees, and helps protect your trees' roots from damage of all types.
For the best results, you should apply a layer of mulch that is about 4-6 inches deep right over the grass that surrounds the base of each tree trunk. Mulch should be used to cover at least an area of nine square feet around the trunk, although extending it a bit further is best to help ensure you cover all tree roots.
Now that spring will be arriving shortly and your trees will be awakening from dormancy, it is important to have a plan to put into action when the ground thaws to nourish your trees and prepare them for a healthy spring and summer. Follow these three steps and be sure to keep your trees well hydrated all summer long. To learn more, check out websites like http://www.prtree.com.