Front Range Tree Care Tips for the Fall
While the calendar says fall, the weather may make it seem like summer – or winter! In any case, your trees will need your assistance this autumn to prepare for the impending winter season. We’ve compiled our finest autumn tree care advice so you know precisely what to do in the Front Range in September and October.
Continue Taking Care of Your Trees
Hot, dry weather that lasts into the autumn is typical, and it may stress your trees as they prepare for winter. Water-stressed deciduous trees do not have the same vibrant autumn colors as healthy trees and are more prone to disease.
If the weather remains hot and dry throughout the autumn, keep your trees watered and wait to switch off your irrigation system until the temperature cools down. Heat and water stress may harm plants both immediately and in the long run.
You may keep watering your trees until October if:
- The temperatures throughout the day are still warm or hot.
- The temps at night are chilly but not cold.
- The soil is still warm and friable.
- Rainfall does not occur on a regular basis and is not expected in the foreseeable future.
Your trees will begin to close up shop for their yearly dormancy period once these circumstances shift to regularly chilly or cold temperatures, rainfall begins, and daylight hours reduce. This is the moment to empty your garden hoses and switch off your irrigation system (remember to blow it out!).
Until then, be prepared to provide a hand to your trees.
Remember that any young trees you planted in the spring or last autumn need additional care. Because their root systems are tiny and can’t extend far to get water and nutrients, they are the most vulnerable to water stress!
Fertilizers Should Be Reduced
Autumn is the time when your garden begins to wind down and prepare for winter. Late October is also the time to cease applying fertilizer.
Fertilizers, particularly those high in nitrogen and phosphorus, encourage the development of new leaves and buds. Due of the scarcity of resources in late fall, trees employ their stored energy reserves to push out those leaves. However, any new growth that occurs in late autumn will be destroyed by the first frost, depleting your trees’ energy supplies just when they are needed the most.
Fertilize your garden in the spring and late summer/early autumn, when your plants will welcome the additional nutrients as they produce leaves, fruit, and flowers.
Begin Your Fall Cleaning Up
It’s usually simpler to stay on top of duties rather than putting them off until the last minute, and the same is true for your garden. As autumn comes, your garden to-do list may seem intimidating, but you can tackle it one at a time.
- Clean up any garden waste or fallen leaves. Now is a wonderful time to stir your compost pile and add your green garbage. Remember to get rid of any garden trash that might contain fungal spores, germs, or damaging insects that were planning to spend the winter in your garden!
- Don’t add fuel to flames. Filling your green garbage cans or having your rubbish taken away is a smart option if you have collected garden debris. By properly disposing of possible tinder, you may help keep everyone safe from fires.
- Compost along the dripline of your trees. While your trees are preparing for dormancy now, they will welcome the additional soil nutrients when they awaken in the spring.
- Resupply the mulch surrounding your trees. Mulch helps control soil temperatures and protects the delicate feeder roots of your trees from the oncoming winter weather. It is most beneficial to your trees if you apply it on top of a layer of compost. Remember, we have free mulch available!
- Examine your trees for signs of pests and damage. You should remove any egg cases or cocoons containing damaging insect larvae. Check for overgrown, split, broken, or otherwise damaged tree limbs that may break or fall during winter storms or when snow and ice loads are severe. You’ll want to put off pruning until winter, but you’ll know which branches to keep an eye on.
Burlap wrapped around the trunk of a seedling tree in Colorado to keep it safe from the elements.
Keep Your Trees Safe
It’s also a good time to stock up on winter tree protection items like burlap wrap and wire mesh to keep your trees safe through winter. As the temperatures drop as autumn and winter approach, you’ll want your trees to be prepared for:
- Freezing temperatures cause trees to become brittle and fracture their bark.
- Road salt that has been absorbed in rain or melting ice may scorch evergreen foliage and promote soil salinity. See our winter salt damage prevention suggestions for more information.
- Winter foragers that nibble on tree bark and tree roots. To safeguard your trees from winter animal damage, you should take precautions before the ground freezes.
Wrap your trees after temperatures have cooled and any spray watering has been turned off, so that layers of burlap do not retain moisture, which may promote fungal infections. Set a reminder for yourself to remove wraps before the temperatures increase and the ice melts in the spring!