Four Tips for Spring Tree Care

By Canopy Team on April 2, 2018

This spring, give your trees the thoughtful care that they need. This is the perfect time to assess any winter damage and to set your trees up for a successful summer. In this post, we share our top four tips for spring tree care. 

1. Inspect trees for overall health

  • Look for dead wood, frostbite, or lesions on leaves.
  • Prune away dead, damaged, or diseased limbs. Need help with pruning, visit Canopy’s Arborist List for a certified arborist near you.
watering young tree

2. Ensure trees have enough water for a solid growing season

  • Check soil moisture once a week 4-6 inches below the surface. Soil should be moist but not wet.
  • Deep watering prevents weak surface roots from forming and encourages the growth of robust roots underground. See Canopy’s tree watering guidelines
  • If you have an irrigation system inspect it for any leaks or clogged spray heads or drippers. 
  • As trees grow, use more water less often. Approximately 10 gallons for each inch of trunk diameter.

3. Check mulch levels and replenished as needed

  • Use mulch to help conserve moisture. Keep the soil covered with a 3- to 5-inch layer of mulch starting a few inches from the base of the trunk and extending 1 to 2 feet from the tree in all directions (creating a circle around the tree).
  • Mulch also helps to suppress weeds.

Mulch is often available for free through creative resources and if you’re patient.

  • Chipdrop allows residents to create an account online and request a drop for free.
  • The City of Palo Alto often offers free mulch during late spring/summer for pickup at a central location.
  • Natural Arbor Care is a local company that offers chips.

4. Remove weeds and excess debris around the base of the tree 

  • Weeds compete with the tree for water and nutrients, so make sure to remove any. Spring is the perfect time for this as dirt is still soft from the rain. 
  • Remove competing plants, including ivy and lawn. These plants can hide defects such as areas of decay and can trap moisture around the root crown, creating the perfect environment for fungus. Garbage collects under ivy and it creates a breeding ground for rats. Ideally all competing plants within the drip line will be removed. Laying mulch around the trunk (but leaving the root crown exposed) can help keep ivy and other plants from returning. 

Have any spring tree care questions? Visit the Canopy Tree Hotline and let us know!

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