The 2022 growing season was complicated to say the least. It started with a late frost, wet/cool spring, and dry/hot summer, and we had excessive rainfall and severe storm events. Now we are seeing snow and frigid temperatures in some areas! We have seen a lot of trees that are stressed and in decline due to environmental conditions and increased pest activity.
Though most of our bugs and diseases are now hibernating until next season, some tools in the arsenal can be used right now to lower stress and increase the health of our plants.
Fall and winter are great times to focus on managing the physical environment our trees grow in and controlling insects and mites that are overwintering on twigs, branches, and the trunk. Ensure your trees and shrubs coast through dormancy happily and are in full strength for the 2023 season!
Tree Planting Restoration
Unfortunately, many of the newly planted trees we see that have been recently installed have been done so incorrectly. These young trees are often planted too deep; packing materials are left on the root balls and stems, unnecessary staking/guying is used, and/or excess mulch is placed around them. Is your new tree planting outside the warranty window? If so, Hansen’s can assess your newly planted trees and help remedy the common malpractice of improper tree installation.
Root Crown Excavation
Trees with soil, mulch, and other materials deposited against their trunks during construction may fall victim to wood decay. Materials that hold moisture against the trunks of trees will allow fungal decay organisms to eat away at bark and wood, resulting in a big problem that is often irreversible. Hansen’s plant healthcare specialists can use various tools to remove the material, allowing the trunk to dry out and repair itself over time.
Soil Compaction Management
Has there been recent construction at your house where heavy equipment was used within a tree’s root zone? Excess weight on soils will “crush” the particles and eliminate pore space, the voids needed to allow air and water movement through the soil. Heavily compacted soils can kill your trees’ roots! Hansen’s ISA Certified Arborists can identify damaged soils and prescribe treatments such as using air tools to break up compacted soils, allowing better air and water movement.
Deep Root Fertilization
An annual fertilizer application is an excellent way to keep our trees performing at their maximum level in urban conditions. As we remove the leaves from our yards, we eliminate the natural nutrient cycling process, limiting essential nutrients from our plants. The biological organisms in our soils require “food” from the organic material provided by fallen leaves, twigs, branches, etc. We like to keep our yards clean in urban areas, with leaf and branch cleanup likely being the number one task. Since we are disrupting that natural process in our developed surroundings, we often prescribe fertilization to get nutrition into our soils, which is then readily available for our plants to absorb and benefit from.
Horticultural Oil Application
Horticultural oil (or dormant oil) is a refined petroleum oil that can be applied to our trees and shrubs during the dormant season to help manage damaging insects and mites. Many insects and mites will “overwinter” in various life stages (often as eggs) on the surface of plant material, waiting for the warmer temperatures of spring and summer to hatch and begin their feeding.
If you had insects or mites feeding on your trees and shrubs this season, there is a good chance they are overwintering on those same plants, waiting to feed again next year. Our plant health care specialists can apply the oil to suffocate these pests, allowing your plants to perform at their maximum ability next season.