How To Prepare Your Sykesville Area Trees and Shrubs for Winter

October is the time to fall into new beginnings. The trees start changing colors, the air becomes cooler, and Halloween decorations pop up everywhere. While you’re outside hanging up those spooky ghosts and scary witches, don’t forget about maintaining your grounds. Taking care of your landscape is important during any season especially fall, because now is the time to prepare your grass and lawn ornaments for the upcoming Maryland winter. To help you get started, American Lawn and Tree Specialists have put together a list for you on how to prep your trees and shrubs and to ensure their safe and healthy return to vibrancy in the spring.

Fall Is the Best Time To Plant New Trees and Shrubsnew shrub being planted

First, if you are planning to upgrade your landscape with one or a few trees and shrubs, do so now. Here in the Sykesville area, fall is the perfect time to plant new trees. As long as the ground hasn’t frozen yet, root activity is taking place. The cooler weather is ideal for stimulating root growth.  During the months of autumn, trees begin preparing for the winter. This means the new trees will be quick to establish healthy roots and require less maintenance than in the spring or summer. And the cooler temperatures create a decrease in the number of pest infestations, fungi, and diseases.

Add Mulch to the Base of Your Trees and Shrubs

Not only will adding mulch to your trees and shrubs add a colorful look to your landscape, but mulch also helps protect the roots from the cold snap of Old Man Winter. A thin layer of mulch will act as a blanket insulating the heat in and keeping the cold out. It will also help to retain moisture inside your soil for extra hydration.

When applying mulch, be sure to leave a six-inch gap between the base of the tree and the ring of mulch. You’ll want the mulch to be two to three inches deep and extend two to three feet around the trunk. Any layer of mulch that is deeper than three inches can result in what is referred to as a mulch volcano. Too much mulch can block the roots from getting enough oxygen and cause the roots to rot. 

Time to Prune and Trim

Just like planting, fall is a perfect time to prune your existing trees and shrubs. Pruning is not only beneficial for the health of your plants but also for your family by removing dead or dying branches. Pruning should be done in fall or early winter when your trees are dormant. You will see your tree much better, detailing which branches need to be trimmed, and you are less likely to hurt or damage the tree.

More importantly, pests and diseases are not as active. Certain trees such as oaks should only be trimmed while dormant to protect the tree from diseases such as oak wilt.

Give Them a Boost With a Deep Root Fertilizationfertilizing a tree by hand

During the fall, trees begin storing nutrients before going dormant for the winter. In the spring, they will use these nutrients to promote overall growth. Just like humans, trees sometimes need supplements. Regular fertilizers applied throughout the year are applied on the surface of the tree. While effective, they often take a while to reach the most important and vital area, the root zone. Deep root fertilization is a mixture of nutrients, water, and insecticides injected into the roots of your trees. It gives your trees and shrubs an added boost of vitamins, minerals, and strength, making them more resilient to the cold, pests, and disease.

Horticultural Oil For Added Protection

Lastly, during the winter, Maryland trees become susceptible to what we call overwintering pests. When the colder months come around, many soft-bodied insects such as scales, aphids, mealy worms, mites, and whiteflies seek out warmth and shelter on and inside your trees. They lay eggs that hatch in the spring and then feed on your trees. Scales and aphids produce a sticky substance called honeydew that creates a black sooty mold on your trees. If an over-infestation occurs, your trees could start to wither, suffer leaf discoloration, and even death.

Horticultural oil can help prevent this. Also known as dormant oil, it is a safe spray applied directly to your trees to help prevent these pests from infesting and destroying them. It is not poisonous to humans, nor is it harmful to wildlife. The oil coats the trunk and kills any overwintering insects and eggs before they awaken in the spring.

Contact American Lawn and Tree Specialists for a Free Tree and Shrub Care Program Estimate Now!

American Lawn and Tree Specialists understand the value trees and shrubs can bring to the exterior of your property. We are also locally owned and therefore familiar with the trees, insects, and diseases in the Sykesville area. Our eight-step tree and shrub care program provides your valuable lawn ornaments with fertilization, insect control, and disease prevention. We apply deep root fertilization and horticultural oil applications in the fall and spring. Learn more about our comprehensive tree and shrub care program by visiting our website, giving us a call at 443-920-3513, or request your free tree and shrub care estimate now!

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