New jeans and new shoes - wrinkle and dirt free.
A new backpack filled with pencils, pens and notebooks in vibrant colors - not a doodle or crease in sight.
Greeting a new schedule with anticipation, excitement and a little bit of nervousness.
It's a new school year; time for a fresh start.
To me, back to school is always a time of renewal. The summer winds down. The temperatures cool. Plants slow top growth, store up energies and begin to change color. And my mind is always refreshed and ready for a new schedule at home, a new schedule for my children and a new calendar full of activities, sports and events.
But along with this new schedule comes not only ringing school bells, but also early morning alarm clocks. And paper piles swell as handouts and homework start a continuous stream into the house.
This is why back-to-school time is also a great time to get organized and prepare for a stress-free school year. Families clean house, stock up on new school supplies and sharpen pencils, and empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothes and replace them with new collections.
While families are in planning mode, it's also a good time of year for them to give their landscape trees the back-to-school treatment. Here are a few things you can do to prepare your trees for the fall and winter months.
After School Snack. After a summer of intense heat, trees need a good drink. Trees that lack water are identifiable by scorched or wilted leaves, otherwise known as heat stress. Watering can help replenish this water and cool trees down. If it's too hard to water in the early morning hours before you have to begin a hectic day, why not think about watering your trees right after school? As children are still enjoying the sunshine and eating their after school snacks outside, you can set up your sprinklers and water your trees.
Mulch 101. A great way to help the soil around your trees retain water and provide additional nutrients is to mulch them properly. As Davey expert Shawn Fitzgerald suggests in this video, avoid mulching too high or right up against a tree trunk as this can deprive the tree of much-needed oxygen and cause trunk decay.
Pruning Pointers. While your kids are singing their A, B, Cs, you can practice the three Ds of pruning - trim dead, damaged and diseased branches. Proper pruning improves tree health, safety and appearance, prolonging its useful life. In this short video, Davey Expert and ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Steve Nagy shows you how to prune like the masters.
Fertilization Education. Just as you refreshed your home, cleaned children's closets and reset your schedule, trees could also use an overall evaluation and nutrient check. This is a great time of year for fertilization to help urban landscape trees receive the nutrients they would normally get from the leaf litter on the forest floor.
Homework. For those of you who have wanted to plant a tree all year but haven't gotten around to it, fall is a great time! Not only can you teach your children how plants grow in the process, but you can also let them get their hands dirty and help plant the tree. Davey Expert and ISA Certified Master Arborist R.J. Laverne provides a series of videos that give step-by-step planting tips.
Follow these simple back-to-school tree care tips and then each year you can watch how your trees - and your children - grow together.