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Fall Tree Care Tips for Northern Virginia

fall tree care tips northern virginia

Many trees are at their most impressive during the fall; the vibrant colors of the leaves are meant to be noticed and appreciated.

You can use this stunning display to remind you that fall is also an important time to give your trees a little extra TLC. Here are the things we recommend doing each autumn –

Give Your Trees a Drink

Summer can be hard on trees. Excessive heat, dry spells, plentiful pests and diseases, and summer storms have all taken their toll. Spend some time now giving your trees plenty of water to be sure they enter the drier winter season well hydrated.

For details on how to water your trees (hint: don’t use a sprinkler), check out our article here >>

Apply Mulch (the Right Way)

Applying organic mulch helps to retain moisture and moderate soil temperatures as winter approaches. Just be sure that the mulch is only 2-4 inches thick and keep it away from the trunk and root flare of the tree (or you might end up suffocating the tree instead). Mulch also enhances organic matter in the soil around the tree, provides vital nutrients, and prevents weeds from growing.

Learn more about proper mulching in our article on Why Mulch is Killing Your Trees.

Time for a Tree Trim

Once the leaves drop from your deciduous trees, any issues such as diseased, dead or dying limbs can be easier to spot. Take a good look at your trees and if you notice any deadwood or other issues, give us a call. Pruning or removing any of the dangerous-looking limbs or trees now means that they won’t fall in the midst of one of the snowy winter storms we often get here.

Cabling and bracing might be an option for tree limbs that could be susceptible to winter weather as well. For smaller plants (like shrubs or perennials), you can use twine (or something similar) to support ones that you’re worried might not bear up under heavy snow and ice loads.

Fall is a great time to prune, remove, or cable your trees to protect your property from winter weather. Contact us for an evaluation.

Choose How to Handle Fallen Leaves

While leaves in a natural forest setting help bring nutrients and organic matter to trees when left to disintegrate on the ground, in urban and suburban areas, leaves left on the ground can suffocate plants and spread disease.

If your trees are susceptible to diseases, it’s best to rake and remove fallen leaves (particularly those from disease-prone trees, such as dogwoods).

If the trees are not prone to disease, the leaves can be left in place if they are mulched or shredded. You could also consider turning them into leaf compost for use in a garden bed. And for leaves that fall on your lawn, just run over them with a mulching mower – no need to rake, blow or bag.

Fertilizer is Food

If your tree is really suffering, fertilization might be necessary to help it survive through the winter. Most established trees won’t need fertilizer, but some newly planted or highly stressed trees might need an extra boost.

Time to Plant Trees

Fall is an ideal time to plant trees, so whether you’re replacing one that you’ve lost or just trying to save some money on your utilities, consider doing it this fall.

It’s important to choose a tree that will work well for your property. See our article on how to select the right tree and find the right place to plant it.

We also provide some handy tips to help you plant your new tree and ensure its health.

Protect your Plants

Evergreen shrubs such as holly or boxwood lose a lot of moisture from their leaves during the winter months, so you might want to consider spraying an anti-desiccant or covering them with burlap to protect from the winter elements. Without this extra protection, leaves can dry up and turn brown and parts of the shrub (or even the whole plant) can die.

Fall Tree Care Tips in a Nutshell

  • Check your trees carefully for signs of damage, decay, disease or any other potentially dangerous conditions. If you see anything, call us at 571-244-3838 to inspect your tree and deal with the problem.
  • Prepare trees for fall by watering, mulching and fertilizing.
  • Protect evergreen shrubs with anti-desiccant or burlap.
  • Remove fallen leaves from diseased trees, mulch or compost the rest.
  • Plant new trees.