As the summer temperatures drop and the leaves begin to change color, most homeowners are starting to get ready for the approaching winter and its elements. This can include taking warmer clothes out of storage, preparing the home to insulate heat, and even being proactive about your garden. What you may not know is that your trees are also recognizing and preparing for the change in season.
Tree dormancy is a phrase often used while discussing landscaping, but what exactly does it mean?
You may have heard these words recently, perhaps within an explanation of dormant pruning services. Because the dormant season usually arrives in your region within the early winter weeks, understanding its effects on your trees may help you better monitor their health before spring.
Deciduous trees pull resources from their leaves to conserve their energy in autumn before they fall to the ground. This allows these resources to be remobilized and used in the spring flush of growth.
Not only is it important that trees naturally prepare for the winter, there are also precautions you can take to prepare the trees in your yard for the dormant season. Proper mulching at the base of trees before temperatures begin declining in fall helps insulate the soil and provide a better environment for roots to form for a longer period. Rather than bagging fall foliage, you can mix them with your mulch or layer them around the base of each tree to retain nutrients, but do not pile them too close to the trunk.
When watering trees during dormant preparation, water from the area just outside the trunk to the extent of the longest branches, making sure to use a sprinkler or soaker hose at the rate of 10 gallons per inch of tree diameter. Younger trees with less extensive root systems need the most care before dormant season, as they have a less likely chance of lasting through the winter.
Like humans, trees are sensitive to change. Trees enter the dormant or “resting” season based on a decrease in temperature and daylight received. These are the two primary factors that determine when and why a tree will rest for the winter.
Root development may occur further into the winter than we may assume, even after all leaves have dropped from a tree and before the ground freezes.
Fall and winter are great times to perform tree maintenance for a number of reasons. Drier grounds and bare branches allow arborists to access and inspect your trees with ease, while dormant tree pruning helps decrease the likeliness of disease to spread and harm the tree’s structure.
Dormant tree maintenance also promotes tree viability when the ground thaws and the sun shines again.