As we sit right in the middle of Florida’s winter months, caring for your trees may not be top of mind. But, the dormant, non-growing winter season provides an ideal opportunity to care for most of the tree varieties that grow in our area, and appropriate tree care has many benefits, including improving your trees’ appearance, vitality, and well-being.
So, with a little effort, this extra bit of care now helps support the healthy growth of your trees so they can look their best, come springtime. Read on to learn our simple tips on how to treat your Florida trees right.
When tree canopies hang down too low, they can block your line of vision on your property’s driveways. In a similar way, established trees can grow limbs and branches that come too close to your property’s power lines.
Why to Prune
Vertical branches should be removed as these can grow into second trunks and are more susceptible to breaking during inclement weather. Also, removing dead limbs and branches allows your tree’s nutrients to go to the healthy parts instead. Further, dead or weakened branches are at risk of falling, so proactively removing them helps avoid unintentional injury.
When to Prune
According to University of Florida IFAS, it’s smart to prune your trees immediately before spring’s arrival. Without their dense foliage, it is much easier to assess tree health and identify dead or dying limbs and branches. Winter pruning also helps prevent pest infestations that happen due to pruning cuts and gives your trees proper time to heal before the growing season comes.
Be careful to not prune too much at one time, as it could damage your tree’s overall growth. Further, the Alachua County Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) outlines that pruning should be done to increase safety for guests and drivers on your property and expressly prohibits pruning trees in a way that reduces their shade-giving abilities.
Using mulch provides many benefits including maintaining root temperatures in hot or cold weather, retaining soil moisture, preventing weeds, and minimizing soil erosion near your trees. There are a few simple ways to make sure your trees get the maximum benefit possible from mulch.
Mulch in a sufficient diameter. Be aware that your tree’s root system likely extends far out underground, so provide enough mulch to cover the entire root area. But, don’t pile the mulch around the tree’s base, which leads to trunk rot. Replace your soil as needed, as older mulch can begin to hinder the ability of water to get to your tree’s roots as necessary. Further, maintain an appropriate layer of mulch. Using too much will deprive your trees of the proper nutrients while using too little will be ineffective.
Giving your trees the proper amount of hydration is another essential component of tree care. Mature, established trees should get an inch of water a week, while new trees need substantially more, 4-10 gallons during their first couple of growing seasons. Be mindful of how much rain we get so you can manually water your trees as needed to keep them from becoming dry and thirsty.
Giving your tree proper nutrients helps it in its photosynthesis process, ensuring it stays healthy while it grows. The most effective way to test your soil is to have a professional assess it. But, in the meantime, you can watch for the following signs of nutrient-deprived soil:
- Fewer, smaller leaves
- Dead branches
- Discolored leaves
- Darkened leaf veins
Application of a slow-release fertilizer can help bring your tree soil nutrients back into balance.
Bring in the Experts
Remember – the tree care you should tackle yourself should be minimal. For anything more extensive, you need the Gainesville tree care experts at Gaston’s Tree Service. We are ISA certified arborists who know what we are doing and how to help you preserve the health and beauty of your trees for years to come through our professional tree trimming and removal services. And, we offer free quotes as well as emergency service for your peace of mind. Contact us today to get started on the path to properly nourished trees.