How to Protect Your Trees from the Summer Heat

Caring for your trees is just as important as the rest of the outdoor elements around your home. While trees can essentially take care of themselves, when the weather gets extreme, human intervention is sometimes necessary.
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With summers getting increasingly warmer, you may be wondering if your trees are taking a hit. Nice tall trees add so much to the look of your yard and garden. Not only do they make beautiful fixtures for your property, but they provide valuable shade and wind protection for you and your plants. 

Caring for your trees is just as important as the rest of the outdoor elements around your home. While trees can essentially take care of themselves, when the weather gets extreme, human intervention is sometimes necessary. This is especially true for fruit and nut-bearing trees. 

Watch for Signs of Heat Stress

Put simply, a tree is in distress when it loses water faster than it can replace it. On particularly hot days, watch your trees carefully for things such as wilting or dropping leaves, yellowing and scorching of the leaves, or sap oozing from the trunk. Lack of consistent rain can lead to a large tree losing as much as 100 gallons of water on a hot day.

Add a Fresh Layer of Mulch

Mulch is a great way to protect the roots of the tree from the heat, as well as retain moisture. Acidic mulch helps keep the pH in the soil low and benefits growth. This is especially true for young trees, as the mulch will help with water intake and establish a strong root system. Alternatives to buying bags of mulch from your local hardware store or nursery can be composted material, raked leaves, manure, or other organic material such as grass clippings. 

When using mulch for trees, less is more. Put down just enough to avoid attracting pests or germs that like to live in the mulch – one layer between 5 to 10 centimeters wide is perfect. Be sure to leave some space between the mulch and the tree base, arranging the layer in a doughnut shape around the tree. Mulch will also help protect your tree from excess foot traffic and provide a good barrier for young trees to keep pets and other animals from hurting it as it grows. 

Consistent Water is Key

One of the priorities during the summer should be keeping the tree properly hydrated. Focus primarily on the root zone for maximum water intake. Unlike smaller plants, trees respond better to less frequent, but more thorough watering. However, younger trees would benefit from watering twice a week when it’s hot. For fruit-bearing trees, watering deeply is especially important. To promote root growth, use drip irrigation, or just let the water flow into the soil at the base and around the drip line of the branches using a garden hose set to a low flow so as not to over-saturate the soil. Try to water early in the morning before the weather gets too hot – this minimises evaporation and helps the tree deal with the heat later in the day.

Proper Fertilisation and Soil Care

Healthy soil equals healthy trees. Adding more nourishment to the soil is a great way to promote tree growth, healthy leaf and room systems, and keeping the nutrients in the soil from drying out. Nutrients are also important to protect the tree from pests and infection. When selecting the optimal fertiliser, consider the quality of the fertiliser and the environment your tree is in. Younger trees can benefit from a water-soluble fertiliser; mature fruit trees should be fertilised more sparingly to avoid harming the fruit. High-stress areas like urban places tend to need more intense fertiliser treatment. A residential tree trimmer can consult with you on best fertilisation practices that will benefit your trees the most. 

Check the soil around the base of your tree. It is fairly compact, or looser? Extremely compact soil can prevent the tree from getting the nutrients and water it needs. If this is the case, you can remedy it by aerating the soil to increase air and water flow to the roots. Use an auger or drill to make a series of 5-centimeter holes in the ground about 5 centimeters apart and up to 50 centimeters deep. Start roughly one meter from the base and work back to the canopy line. Then fill each hole loosely with topsoil, then cover with a layer of mulch.

Don’t Prune Regularly in Summer

Pruning trees is often necessary for keeping up your tree’s appearance and maintaining its overall health. However, during the summer months it’s better to avoid pruning unless it is to remove damaged or diseased branches. This also helps minimise disease from spreading to other parts of the tree. Regular pruning promotes healthy air circulation and reduces water uptake – but you don’t want to do that in the heat of summer. It puts undue strain on the tree at a time when it needs all the moisture it can take. If you must prune during this time, let a residential tree trimming professional advise you.  

Finally, Inspect Regularly for Pests

Your tree may appear healthy, but you don’t know what’s lying just beneath the surface until you look. Hot humid conditions are a playground for pests such as termites and other wood-boring insects. Inspect trees weekly for telltale signs such as cleanly bored holes, dead branches, and dripping sap. These can indicate larval infestations that could decrease the tree’s water uptake. Also, keep a casual eye on other trees in your neighborhood for similar signs that can alert you to possible localised infestations. 

With these simple tasks, you can keep your trees nice and healthy when the temperatures reach unbearably hot levels. Not only will you be protecting your trees, but you will enhance the curb appeal of your yard. With some routine care and maintenance you will yield beautiful, long-lasting trees.

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