Summer Tree Care Tips

By Canopy Team on June 25, 2018

tree branch with green leaves

This summer, take action to ensure your trees thrive over the warm and dry months. What was not accomplished over the spring should happen now, especially deep watering and mulching to conserve moisture. Following are four tree care tips for happy and healthy trees.

Conserve water and preserve trees

Conserve water and preserve trees by following these water-wise guidelines:

  • Deep watering. Young trees require regular watering for good health and disease prevention. Deep watering (see watering guidelines) prevents weak surface roots from forming and encourages the growth of robust roots underground.
  • Watch out for signs of drought stress. Are leaves wilting, yellowing, curling or browning at the edges? Make sure to check soil moisture once a week 4-6 inches below the surface, soil should be moist but not wet.
  • Inspect your irrigation system for leaks or clogged spray heads or drippers. Move drippers away from the tree as it matures, always apply water at or near the drip line of the tree and slightly beyond.
  • Lawn irrigation does not provide adequate irrigation for trees. Lawn irrigation or light sprinkling for 5 to 10 minutes waters only a few inches of soil and encourages weak surface roots. Consider removing the lawn around your trees or supplement with deep watering (see watering guidelines).

Replenish mulch

Use mulch to help conserve moisture. Over the summer replenish the mulch surrounding your tree. Or if your trees aren’t currently mulched, take the time to cover the soil with a 3- to 5-inch layer of mulch starting a few inches from the base of the trunk and extending 1–2 feet from the tree in all directions (creating a circle around the tree).

Prune for strong growth

Prune to improve tree health and encourage strong growth. The best time to prune is while trees are dormant (typically during fall and winter), yet it’s beneficial to check your trees over the summer for any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. Additionally, mature trees should be removed of any excessive weight from the ends of branches. Summer is also a good time to prune flowering trees that have finished blooming. For tips on pruning your tree, check out this video on pruning from arborists Larry Costello and Ellyn Shea, or ideally, hire a Certified Arborist to prune your tree.

A canopy volunteer and Teen Urban Forester pruning young trees at Pardee Park.

A canopy volunteer and Teen Urban Forester pruning young trees at Pardee Park.

Inspect tree health

Summer is a great time to inspect the overall health of your tree. While the crown is full, inspect your tree for any signs of pest damage, disease, or rot. Learn about tree pests and diseases that may affect your tree. If you suspect disease, consult a Certified Arborist. The arborist can also inspect the tree for weak branch attachments and periodically check your tree for safety. Watch trees carefully for foliage changes to catch problems early and begin care and treatment.


Do you have a tree care question? Send us an email through the Canopy Tree Hotline


Sign up for local tree news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Sign Up

Recent Posts