How to Protect and Care for Your Yard’s Trees This Summer

The trees growing in your yard add shade, provide homes for wildlife, and help cool your home during the summer. Summer can be a dangerous time for your trees, as extreme heat and drought can cause stress and even kill them. Keeping your trees protected against disease is also important. Here are some tips to help you keep your trees healthy this summer.

Water Your Trees

During the heat of summer it is important to make sure you take care of your trees, young and old. You need to be providing them enough water and spacing the watering appropriately. As you water your trees, you will want the water to reach deep into the ground and to the trees' roots. This helps prevent the roots from growing shallow beneath the tree, which can lead to health problems and disease.

It is recommended to water your trees weekly to receive the equivalent of 1.5 inches of rainfall, or 25 gallons of water each week. You can provide this to your tree by turning your garden hose on a trickle, using a soaker hose, turning a sprinkler on low, or using a tree soaker bag. A tree soaker bag holds 25 gallons of water, which is released through holes in the bottom of the bag to soak into the soil around the base of your tree. You can also use a drill to create holes in the bottom of a five-gallon bucket, then fill the bucket with water and set it at the base of your tree five days each week.

Be sure to allow the soil around your tree's roots to dry out between waterings so you don't suffocate the tree. This is why it is important to space the watering out each week.

If you are using a sprinkler to water your tree, set an empty tuna can on the ground to catch water from the sprinkler. Check the tuna can every 15 minutes to measure the water and determine how long it will take to water your tree 1.5 inches. Then, divide the time up over two to three watering sessions through the week. For example, if your tuna can collects one-half inch of water in 30 minutes, you will need to water your tree with the sprinkler for a total of 90 minutes each week, preferably broken up into three sessions of 30 minutes each.

Care for Newly-Planted Trees

If you have a tree that is young or recently planted within the last three years, your tree will need a little extra water, especially during excessively hot temperatures. Watch for signs of stress in your new tree. Heat stress can show up in its leaves. They can appear grey in color and droop from its branches. Prolonged heat stress on your tree will result in the leaves turning crispy and falling from its branches. If a tree show signs of heat stress, water it immediately.

You should be watering your tree five to ten gallons of water at least twice a week in normal weather. But when the summer temperatures increase excessively, you should add another watering of five to ten more gallons.

Trim Your Trees

Just as you provide plenty of water to keep your tree healthy, you also need to care for its branches and leaves in the summer. Watch for signs of disease and infestations from insects, especially when they can both be more active. Disease showing up with yellowing or wilting leaves, along with certain branches dying off, can be a sign you need to have a professional take a look at your tree. A tree professional can determine what disease is affecting your tree to get it an appropriate treatment. This can include trimming off specific branches to eliminate the disease or treating with chemicals to fight the organism affecting its health.

A tree professional will properly remove specific branches that are affecting the trees health in a way that promotes the health of the tree. For example, when removing a branch, it is not recommended to cut the branch off flush with its connecting branch, as this prevents proper growth of a wood over the wound. A tree professional will cut the branch leaving a few inches of the branch intact and is called a branch collar. The raised branch collar contains chemicals in the bark that help the tree form woundwood and also help to protect it from pathogens that can harm the tree.

A tree professional can also evaluate your tree's growth for any unbalanced growth or branches that are at risk of breaking off in adverse weather or in close proximity to power lines. They can safely remove these branches to help you tree continue to grow healthy.