The longevity of trees is what really makes them so charming and enduring . The good thing about trees is that they are usually pretty forgiving and can tolerate a few years of abuse and still manage to live. However, in order to ensure longevity of the tree proper care is imperative. Even little things can make a big difference over the course of the years as the tree grows. I have been examining trees all year while at the same taking pictures and here are a few things that you can do to assist your trees through the fall and winter to help them thrive through the years.
Some trees are particularly susceptible to insects. Some like birch trees react especially well to systemic treatments applied in the fall. The insecticide is taken up by the roots and enters into the vascular system of the tree so when insects begin chewing or sucking the fluids from the tree, they become poisoned by the tree itself. This can also be hugely effective against aphids and scale for those trees who always seem to be affected by those illusive critters. Depending on the potency of the chemical used, this could last up to an entire year of protection. The downside of systemic treatments is that they are usually pretty costly.Therefore, if you do choose this option, you may want to be selective on which tree you want to treat.
Fall is a wonderful time to prune trees and shrubs because the vascular system will have slowed significantly. This is especially important for fruit trees that have fire blight because the fungus will spread with each cut unless treated with a 10% bleach solution between cuts. Pruning in the fall aids as well.
The winter can be hard on some trees- especially the younger trees. This can be caused by freezing and thawing as well as sun scald shining off of snow and glaring onto the trunk. This can be remedied by wrapping the trunk to give it a little extra insulation where needed and to block the sun from burning the trunk. Below is a picture of a tree where trunk wrapping would have been beneficial. Also be aware of any sap seeping from the trunk which could indicate other issues with freezing and thawing.
As one would expect, trees and shrubs perform better when they are properly fertilized. I personally recommend injections especially when the trees are in the lawn so that the lawn doesn’t take the fertilizer intended for the trees and shrubs. Here is something to be aware of also. While fertilizer is well and good, it can radically increase the number of fruit on a fruit tree (this includes trees like choke cherries, crab apples, and decorative pears) but will decrease the size of the fruit which could potentially make a huge mess of a yard.
One last obvious thing is to watch the weather temperature. If you want to preserve some fruit and vegetables in the fall from being frosted, put covers over them.