Spring is a time to clean out and spruce up – and that applies to your trees, too. Here are six must-dos for your trees this season:
Remove any remaining decorative holiday lights and protective winter wraps from tree trunks and branches or you’ll risk girdling growth. Clean up debris beneath trees (twigs, leaves, fallen fruit) to avoid propagating fungal disease
Add a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch around trees, especially those younger than 10 years old, to help the soil retain moisture and suppress weeds. But take care: Create a donut of mulch around the tree. Mulch piled up against the trunk can generate heat and moisture and become an incubator for disease.
Now that the soil is thawed, begin watering your trees again. If you use sprinklers, don’t allow them to spray water onto foliage of trees susceptible to fungal diseases, such as dogwoods.
Although winter is the ideal time to prune, spring is a good time to remove any dead, damaged or broken branches. Not sure if a branch is dead? Wait for the tree to leaf out and you’ll see which ones are ready to come down.
Look for cracks and crevices, oozing, fungal growth and missing bark on the trunk. Look for rabbit or vole damage. If you spot something that makes you nervous, contact a certified arborist.
Pests & Diseases
The big star in the pest world these days is the emerald ash borer, a metallic green beetle that bores into ash trees and feeds on tissues beneath the bark, ultimately killing the tree. Its spree has killed millions of ash trees in the U.S.If you have an ash tree, check them for signs of the beetle. Signs include thinning of the tree’s crown, sprouting from the main stem, small 1/8-inch exit holes (which can be anywhere on the tree) and sighting of the larvae under the bark. If you’re not sure you have an ash tree or whether it’s affected by the emerald ash borer, you can find more information at charlottenc.gov/trees and click on “Emerald Ash Borer” or call a certified arborist.If caught early enough, treatment with approved insecticides might save the tree. Contact a certified arborist for treatment options or safe removal.
Sources: Adapted from articles on bayeradvance.com and ncforestservice.gov