Spring is around the corner, and before we know it, the trees in our yards will be waking up. But how often do we stop to consider their well-being during winter? Tree care should happen all year round – not just in spring when leaves are budding or summer when they bloom. To keep your trees healthy and happy this coming season (and every season thereafter), make sure you’re paying attention to some common spring tree care mistakes that too many of us unintentionally make; there’s no better time than right now to plan ahead, so let’s dive into the biggest spring tree care mistakes and how you can avoid them!
1. Improper Planting
This tip is a preventative measure and makes all the difference in establishing a strong and healthy tree. When planting a new tree, follow the directions on the label of the specific type of tree you have purchased; each species has unique needs for sunlight, soil, water, and nutrients.
A few major planting mistakes we often see are:
- Planting too close to buildings or power lines. Trees need room to grow and spread their branches.
- Planting in an area that receives too much or not enough sunlight, water, and/or nutrients.
- Failing to consider the future size of the tree when planting. It’s important to know that mature trees can grow to very large sizes and may need more space than what is available right now.
- Suffocating the trunk flare with soil. This happens when too much soil is placed around the tree’s base.
2. Neglecting Pruning
Pruning is essential for maintaining an attractive and healthy tree. It’s important to remember that trees need to be pruned differently at different stages of their lives; for instance, young trees will require more frequent and lighter pruning than mature trees.
Pruning mistakes we often see include:
- Using the wrong tools for the job and making improper cuts on branches. This can lead to the death of a branch or even the entire tree.
- Pruning at the wrong time of year. Many trees should be pruned in late winter or early spring, but certain species may require a different timing for optimal results.
- Failing to follow up with proper wound treatment. Pruning can leave wounds on trees that are vulnerable to infection and decay. Make sure you seal the wound correctly with a dressing or paint to protect your tree from further damage.
3. Poor Fertilization Practices
Fertilization is vital for providing trees with nutrients that may be missing from their soil, but too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing! Fertilizing mistakes we often see include:
- Applying too much fertilizer, which can burn the tree’s roots and cause poor growth.
- Using a fertilizer that is not suited for your tree type. Different species require different nutrients at different rates and cycles.
- Failing to water the tree after fertilizing. Fertilizer should be applied with enough water to ensure that the nutrients make it down to the roots.
4. Improper Watering
Most trees require deep watering regularly, especially during the summer months when there is less rainfall. Common mistakes include:
- Failing to water deeply enough for an extended period of time. In general, trees should be watered slowly and deeply for at least 30 minutes in order to ensure that the roots are receiving enough water.
- Watering too much or too little. Too little water can cause stress or death to a tree, while too much can lead to problems such as root rot.
- Failing to monitor soil moisture. If a tree is in an area that receives regular rainfall, it may not need to be watered at all; the best way to know for sure is to check the soil for signs of dryness before watering your tree.
5. Ignoring Pests and Diseases
Be proactive about checking your trees for pests and diseases. Various diseases and pests can affect trees, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to diagnose and treat any issue properly. Common mistakes include:
- Failing to identify the pest or disease correctly. Different pests and diseases require different treatments, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis before taking action.
- Misusing pesticides or other treatments. Pesticides and other treatments should be used in accordance with the label, as misusing them can lead to more harm than good.
- Failing to monitor trees for signs of further damage after treatment. You may need to take additional steps if the problem persists or worsens despite your efforts.
Taking proper care of trees requires knowledge, vigilance, and effort. While these five common spring tree care mistakes are some of the most frequent issues we see, they’re certainly not the only ones. It’s essential to be aware of all potential spring tree care hazards in order to ensure your trees stay healthy and beautiful for years to come!