Nature is constantly transforming. From fall to winter, there is a wonderful show before the snow, and then from winter to spring, there is a new awakening as all your plants come to life.
The transition from spring to summer may be slighter, but it’s still a shift. Rainy, cloudy days become less frequent as you embrace consistent warmth.
Bright, sunny, summer days are energizing. It’s time for picnics in the park, lounging in a hammock under the shade of trees in your backyard, and enjoying the colorful flowers.
Trees are a welcome refuge in summer because beneath them you can find relief from the sun’s UV rays, as well as cooler temperatures.
But, in summer, for your trees to give you all the benefits you crave, they need a little TLC. You want to make sure your trees are strong enough to withstand everything that comes their way, including extreme heat and possible drought. Our summer tree care checklist has just the tips you need to ensure success.
Let’s look at some summer tree care tips so you can maximize your tree’s health and help them enjoy the warmer months as much as you do.
Summer tree pruning is one of the chores on your seasonal to-do list, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind when it comes to pruning trees in the summer.
Summer pruning is good if you want to remove any dead branches or those that are hanging or considered high-risk to ensure safety on your property. These branches are more prone to fall, so you and your tree don’t need them.
This is also a great time to shape trees and shrubs to boost your landscape aesthetics. This could be something as simple as removing some random tall bits that are growing haphazard around the natural shape of your shrub. Consult with a certified arborist before pruning elms and oaks in summer because that is when they are most vulnerable to being infected with vascular wilts.
While you’re pruning, you want to look over your trees and shrubs for any potential issues as summer kicks into gear.
This includes damage to tree leaves and stems that could be a sign of an insect infestation. If you see some bleeding sap, borer holes or sawdust, unusual chewed leaves, or leaf dieback, having a certified arborist take a look can help ensure you catch an insect problem early before damage becomes excessive. Branch dieback and spots on leaves can be signs of stress and disease which may also need to be evaluated by a professional.
And because emerald, green leaves are a summer staple, when you see sections of yellow, you want to make sure you look at your soil moisture. Your tree could be suffering from heat stress. Summer leaf yellowing is a sign they are trying to conserve water. But just as your tree could be telling you they are underwatered, they could also be telling you that they are overwatered. So you want to check the moisture deep into your soil before making any assumptions. If the soil is often fully saturated with water and does not have time to drain, then irrigation may be too frequent.
Speaking of soil care, if you find your soil is consistently dry in summer, you may want to opt for a slow, deep watering method with drip or soaker hose on your larger trees that need hydration. Some trees will need more water than others, so it’s best not to guess. A typical rule of thumb is to water 5 gallons for every 1 inch of trunk diameter. Repeat this every week when there is not significant rainfall. A certified arborist can offer guidance and help your tree roots get the hydration they need. Avoid using overhead irrigation which can aid the spread of disease.
Summer is also a good time to continue tree fertilization, as well as provide nutrition to shrub and lawn areas if deficiencies become evident during the season.
In your landscape beds, you’ll want to control weeds so your plants can thrive without losing nutrients and water to undesirable weeds.
Sure, April showers have died down in summer, but you trade those out for a severe weather period in the hotter months. We’re talking about hurricane season and summer thunderstorms.
Your larger trees with weak or heavy limbs may need some cabling or bracing to ensure they stand strong through rough winds and heavy rain. Worried about some of the limbs on your big trees? A certified arborist can evaluate and tell you which ones are at risk and may benefit from cabling or bracing. Weight reduction at the ends of limbs is another option to reduce the chances of failures.
While you’re taking care of your trees and shrubs this summer, don’t forget your lawn.
While you might be admiring those short-mown lawns on the golf courses, your lawn is not meant to be that short. You might even be trying to limit the amount of time you are maintaining your lawn by mowing a lot off at once. In both instances, you’re creating more work for yourself, stressing your lawn , and opening your lawn up to excess weed growth.
The ideal mow height is about 3 to 4 inches for most cool-season grasses and 2 to 2.5 inches for warm-season grasses. This keeps your lawn thick to limit sunlight to the soil that could germinate any weed seeds that are lurking there. It also doesn’t stress your lawn so it can remain thick, healthy, and green.
Proper irrigation is also very important for maintaining turf in summer. Turf benefits most from irrigation which does not exceed the rate of infiltration into the soil, but which slowly penetrates down below its deepest roots. By letting the soil dry for several days between waterings, the turf will be forced to develop a deep root system, making it more resilient against summer stress.