As the summer months draw to a close and fall arrives here in north Florida, it’s the perfect time to prepare for the harsher winter months. While we may not experience snow like some of the more northern states, we do get frequent frosts and freezing temperatures that can potentially harm or kill your trees.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps to take to keep your trees healthy as it gets colder, and our experts at Gaston’s Tree Service are here to help.
The easiest thing you can do to maintain tree health is to regularly check for damaging diseases or invasive insects and treat them early. Here are a few visible signs your tree needs treatment before winter comes:
- Fusiform Rust. This disease affects pine trees in the south and is noticeable by its cigar-shaped swelling and yellow pustules.
- Brown Spot Needle Blight. Small yellow or light brown needle dots on your longleaf pine indicate this disease.
- Annosus Root Disease. Pine tree wounds or damage make it more susceptible to this disease, which weakens the tree and makes it more likely to break or dislocate in strong winds.
- Oak wilt. This is a fungal disease that typically kills oak trees.
- Bacterial Wetwood, or “slime flux.” This disease, characterized by bleeding sap or trunk rot, is not as deadly for your tree, but it often causes further damage that the tree can’t heal from. A few trees most affected by slime flux: oak, elm, poplar, ash, cottonwood, and mulberry.
Mulch should be an essential part of your annual landscaping routine. When placed around tree beds, it aids in moisture retention, soil health, weed control, and aesthetic appearance. Use the fall months to mulch your yard or fill in sparse places in the existing tree beds. Mulching doesn’t have to be costly – if you have pine trees in your yard, their needles provide free natural mulch, as do mowed grass trimmings.
Trim and Prune
Unlike fruit and shade trees, trees that bloom in the spring, such as azaleas, dogwoods, and fringe trees, should not receive fall trimming or pruning. To prune, cut away the diseased or damaged limbs and branches and allow nutrients to benefit the tree’s healthy parts and allow for new, even spring growth.
Remove Dead Weight
If you notice your trees are dead or dying, remove them as soon as possible. Torrential weather conditions such as sleet and frost can weigh them down and make them fall in a dangerous place in your yard or on your home.
Take this time to plant trees appropriate for our climate and in properly nutrient-dense soil for each specific type during this dormant, non-growing period. For example, you can plant chestnut trees from August to September, and you can plant flowering trees during the fall to bloom in the spring months.
Late fall is an opportune time to use a slow-release fertilizer on your trees. Once deciduous trees stop actively growing and leaves have fallen, the tree roots rather than the new foliage get the fertilizer nutrients. The tree then stores any excess and applies it to new growth once the tree begins actively growing again.
Evergreens, as the name suggests, are trees whose leaves remain green year-round. These trees should be regularly watered, even during the fall months, to ensure their health during all seasons.
Raking and disposing of leaves that have accumulated around the base of your trees prevents the tree from receiving sunshine and creates a welcoming environment for mold, pests, and harmful bacteria.
Gaston’s Tree Service is Here to Help With Your Fall Tree Care
A comprehensive, year-round maintenance plan is essential to ensure tree and landscape health no matter what the Florida seasons bring. Contact the experts at Gaston’s Tree Service to learn how you can make your trees beautiful and strong enough to withstand anything.