In early January, the only tree on your mind may be a drying-out Christmas tree and how long you’ll hold out before taking it down. But the beginning of the year is the perfect time to think about your outdoor trees and how you’ll care for them this year!
1. Get Your Tree Pruned
You can start this one now! Many people think tree pruning needs to wait until spring or summer. On the contrary, winter is a great time to prune your trees. Without leaf growth, it’s easy for arborists to see the state and shape of branches and prune the tree to a healthy shape.
Winter pruning lets the tree benefit most from new spring growth, especially if the goal is to direct leaf and branch growth in a certain direction. Cold weather also means that any pest or fungal infections aren’t active, so these won’t interfere with pruning.
Bonus: You’ll have less of a wait time for work than when your neighbours decide to get on top of their pruning in spring!
2. Plant a Tree
As you start to think ahead to spring, think about giving your family a new addition this year: a new tree. Whether you have a large space or a small space, there are options for small-space trees or container trees that will work for you.
Planting trees helps your yard fight climate change and can keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter naturally. They help decrease air pollution and fight heat islands in the city. A new tree in your yard can also help with noise pollution if you live near a busy street or noisy neighbours, and provide a physical privacy barrier.
3. Avoid Storm Damage Before It Happens
Both winter and summer storms can cause extensive damage to trees. Trees with weakened or broken branches are most at risk. You can get ahead of any potential damage by checking your trees regularly and conducting maintenance.
Look for broken, damaged or loose branches, as well as those that may be touching a roof or building. Regular pruning can help stop storm damage before it starts. Keeping on top of watering and fertilizing also helps keep your tree healthier, making it more resistant to damage.
4. Fertilize Trees and Shrubs
Cooler weather in spring and fall is the best time for fertilizing your plants. If you haven’t taken advantage of a fall fertilizer service in the past season, you can get ahead by fertilizing in the spring.
Regular fertilizer application helps recover missing nutrients in city soil. Urban trees are exposed to a lot and soils don’t receive the benefit of nutrients from decaying leaves and plants that trees do in nature. Fertilizing your trees makes them grow faster and stronger. If you have young or mature trees, ensure booking a fertilizer service is on your 2022 to-do list.
5. Remove Stumps
Have you been waiting years for old tree stumps to rot away? Perhaps you removed the tree years ago…maybe a former owner of your home removed the tree. Make 2022 your year to deal with this tripping hazard and eyesore! Stump grinding is an affordable and efficient way to remove a stump from your yard.
Bonus: It’s way faster than waiting a decade or so for the stump to rot. [link] Learn more about stump grinding and whether it will work for you!
6. Treat Seasonal Pests
Trees can be host to a wide variety of pests and fungi — phytophthora root rot, maple tar spot, LDD moth, spider mites, aphids, and more. Most of these issues crop up at specific times of the year. Some homeowners’ instinct is to ignore these problems until they become too big to ignore.
That’s a mistake. Many of these infestations can get worse if left untreated: LDD moth, for example, can eat the foliage of an entire mature tree in a few days. When you notice signs of damage, it’s time to call an arborist to diagnose and treat your problem.
Many pest issues need to be treated seasonally — if you wait, you may learn you’ll be waiting until the fall or even next year before the appropriate treatment can be applied. In 2022, commit to fixing your plant problems before they invade the whole block!
7. Water Your Trees
It’s easy to remember to water your flower or vegetable garden when the long hot days of summer are here, but do you think about your trees? Trees need water too, especially in urban yards that don’t drain or absorb water as well as in natural settings.
In times of low or sporadic rainfall (this includes flash storms), trees need extra water to stay healthy. This especially goes for newly planted trees and those in their first years of life. Trees benefit most from a deep watering once or twice a week, rather than lighter daily watering.
8. Use Eco-Friendly Pest Control
Pests are a pain, but there are less harmful ways of dealing with them! Gone are the days of blinding spraying pesticides over yards and sticking a “do not walk here” sign on top. There are many more eco-friendly ways to manage infestations now.
Tools like insecticidal soap are made from natural products like potassium salts and are safe for humans, pets and garden animals. There’s also biological pest control, which means using natural predators to eat invasive or harmful pests. This includes releasing insects like lacewings, ladybugs, or predator mites into your garden, depending on the issue you’re treating. The natural predators will help treat your problem while benefitting the local ecosystem, a win-win!
Need help keeping your 2022 tree resolutions? It’s easier than going to the gym or cutting out sugar — call Vista Tree Management to plan ahead for the season!