Prep trees for winter with the “Fall Five”

  • Friday, November 2, 2018 11:45am
  • Life

In autumn, trees demand attention with their tinted maroon, orange and bronze leaves. While their warm hues dazzle today, it’s Renton’s countless evergreens that will brighten the winter months ahead.

Luckily, local tree expert, Rick Castro of Davey Tree, says now is a great time to get outside, admire, and ensure all your trees are healthy.

“The more time you spend preparing now, the less time you’ll spend reacting in spring,” said Castro, a ISA Certified Arborist. “Plus, your trees will emerge healthier and perform better when they awaken from dormancy. On the flip side, if plants enter winter stressed, their problems will only worsen.”

While the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a relatively warm and mild winter in Renton this year, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Even though Renton is not known for heavy snows, it can happen. There was a white Christmas for some Rentonites last winter.

Regardless of what weather lies ahead, play it safe, and keep your trees in pristine condition this winter with Castro’s tips below.

Prep Trees for Winter with the Fall Five:

1. Plant. Fall is the optimal time to plant a tree. The mild weather and frequent rainfall help roots establish quickly and grow strong. Castro suggests planting trees by the end of November. Choose a location that can accommodate the mature size of the tree, which will add value to the property for years to come.

2. Mulch. Trees benefit from a 2-4-inch blanket of mulch over as much of the root zone as possible. It acts as a moisture barrier and helps maintain a consistent soil temperature. Castro advises keeping mulch 2-3 inches away from the trunk of the tree. Also, be sure not to pile it up against the trunk like a volcano as that can trap moisture, creating a cool hideaway that attracts fungus, disease, and pests.

3. Prune. Removing dead, diseased, or unsafe branches helps trees maintain a safe structure and tolerate high winds. Certified arborists specialize in knowing just what branches to remove (and how to do it) to reduce hazards. Well-maintained, properly pruned trees are less likely to break and cause damage in heavy wind, rain, and snow.

4. Fertilize. Even though trees appear dormant during winter months, their roots continue to grow and need nutrients. Castro says to apply a slow-release fertilizer to help keep trees nourished all winter long. Come spring, your trees will be blooming and ready to show off.

5. Keep pests away. Apply dormant oil in the fall to stop insect larvae from developing further. While dormant oils eliminate harmful pests, they’re less toxic to beneficial bugs. In spring, you’ll have fewer bugs gnawing on fresh tree buds and fruit.

Follow these guidelines to help trees stand strong all winter. If your trees need help, contact Rick Castro, Davey’s local arborist, by calling 425-462-8829 or visiting Davey.com/Seattle.

The Davey Tree Expert Company’s approximately 9,000 employees provide diversified tree services, grounds maintenance and environmental services for the residential, utility, commercial and government markets throughout the U.S. and Canada. Davey has provided Proven Solutions for a Growing World since 1880 and has been employee-owned for 38 years. For more information, visit www.davey.com.

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