Spring has bounded into the Portland area! As blossoms emerge, it’s time for homeowners and businesses, to conduct the following basic spring tree care tasks for the long-term health of your trees. By tackling these five essential tree care tasks for spring in March and early April, you can ensure that your trees stay healthy and productive all year long.
5 Tree Care Tips for Spring
1. Clean Up Around the Base of the Tree
Spring cleaning begins at the base of the tree. Remove twigs, leaves, and other detritus that may have accumulated beneath and around trees. Warmer weather signals the time to remove any protective plastic or coverings you may have had in place during the cold winter months. It’s a good idea to rake up any debris that collected underneath or around the tree, like old leaves or fallen fruit because this helps to protect the tree from any diseases or fungi that might be lingering.
2. Inspect Trees for Damage & Disease
Look for obvious signs of tree disease, including broken branches, holes, molds, and fungi. Also, notice which branches do not put out blossoms or leaves—these are likely dead and ready to be pruned away, ideally by a professional Portland tree pruning service, such as the nearby Urban Forest Professionals. Winter desiccation, also known as “winter burn,” can occur when plants dry out in cold winter conditions. Winter sunscald is another challenge; it manifests as vertical cracks in tree bark. Discoloration is another clue that something may be amiss. For instance, some plants will yellow if they receive too much water.
If you have questions about damage or are in need of some Portland tree care advice, call an experienced arborist near you for sound information. Our Portland ISA-certified arborists can recommend when to remove branches, or when to add a tree cable support system, and if spring tree removal is best, rather than risk it crashing down in the next storm.
3. Plant New Trees
Trees bring dozens of benefits to your home or business! They reduce noise levels, stabilize soil, and give wildlife a place to perch. Trees also increase property values while decreasing energy costs. Spring is a good time to add trees to your property, as their roots will have enough time to dig in before scorching summer temperatures hit. Of course, every tree species has its own preferences, so feel free to contact us with questions about the best time to plant a new tree. If you’re interested in learning more about what trees to plant in Portland that attract bees, birds, and butterflies, read this article.
4. Mulch and Water Trees
Next, apply some mulch. Mulching trees helps to suppress weeds and retain moisture. It’s most important when you’re dealing with young trees (less than 10 years old), but older trees can benefit as well. The layer of mulch should be two to three inches thick and a couple of feet wide. Don’t let it touch the trunk directly, though, because this gives diseases an easy point of access. Leave an inch or two clear.
Avoid watering the tree until the soil thaws, or else you’ll just create runoff. Avoid letting the tree dry out even when the weather is cool, though. You might have to water a few times a day. Deeply water any trees near areas where deicing materials were used. Watering it well helps to wash away the salt and minerals. Finally, adjust your sprinklers so they don’t create puddles or spray the leaves—wet foliage encourages disease.
5. Fertilize Trees
Fertilization can also be done in the spring months. Fertilizer is a good idea whenever soil lacks the macronutrients and micronutrients that trees need to thrive. To figure out if an established tree needs fertilization, observe its shoot growth, i.e., the growth that happens in a single year. In general, shoot growth of less than 2 inches indicates a fertilizer may be required. Of course, certified arborists take many other factors into account when prescribing the best fertilization approach.
Beyond soil testing, foliage color and the history of the yard should also be considered. As far as timing goes, it’s ideal to provide slow-release fertilizer prior to the tree’s springtime growth spurt. While fertilization timing varies by location, soil conditions, and by species, a good rule of thumb is to apply fertilizer as soon as the ground is workable in the spring.
Importance of Fertilizing Portland Trees in Spring
Spring tree fertilization is common as most trees have their greatest need for nutrients in the spring. In Portland, spring application usually happens in March or April as, rainy, cold weather wanes and sunny weather begins to show its face. Trees in the city need fertilization because many of the natural processes that take place to add nutrients to the soil are disrupted. Leaves and other debris are cleaned up before they can be re-incorporated into the soil. Soil is often compacted so many nutrients are washed away as urban runoff. Also, the presence of pollutants can strip nutrients from the soil or disrupt their absorption.
If your tree is having health issues, fertilization is likely an important part of getting that tree back into tip-top shape, but you need to be sure that the problem that caused the tree to be unhealthy has been resolved. A Certified Arborist can help you identify and diagnose health issues. Trees are similar to humans in that when we are sick good nutrition can go a long way to getting us back on our feet, but in some cases, additional medicine or other interventions are required to achieve and maintain our health.
We Use Two Basic Types of Fertilizers for Trees
- Chemical: This is your basic man-made chemical fertilizer. There are several reputable brands that have developed formulations made specifically for either Deciduous or Evergreen trees, and for application in either the spring or the fall. Two of the most popular brands are Jobes and Phc for trees. Jobes is a good quality one that has an organic option and is available at most Home Depot stores. Phc is a little harder to find but has excellent proven results and is what many professional arborists use.
- Natural Mix: For us, this is a compost tea mixed with Mycorrhizal Fungi. This fertilizer combination is a more organic option that mimics nature. The Mycorrhizal Fungi help with the absorption of nutrients and, we have seen great results with their use of urban trees. This application is somewhat custom and cannot be bought off of the shelf.
Fertilization options for trees also come in several application options. Fertilizer in most cases can’t be just spread on the ground surrounding the tree. It needs to be inserted under the soil 6”-12” down into the root zone of the tree. Those application options are:
- Tree Spikes: These are the most common option for a DIY fertilizer application. Tree spikes are soil-form fertilizers that are formed in a spike shape that can be driven into the ground by hand (or at least in theory they can).
- Deep Root Fertilization: This is a liquid fertilizer pumped into the soil using a long wand attached to a commercial pump. This method is favored by professional arborists.
- Injections: Fertilizer applications can be injected directly into the tree, but this is usually only done in extreme cases or when the tree is also receiving another type of injection.
Spring Tree Services in Portland, Oregon
Ready to give your trees the best possible care this spring? Contact us today to schedule a tree care appointment and take advantage of our expert services. With our help, you can ensure that your trees stay healthy and beautiful all season long. Don’t wait – give your trees the care they deserve today! From spring tree removal to pruning to fertilization, you can count on Urban Forest Pro for their spring tree services in Portland. Our customers love how we go the extra mile when providing tree service. Portlanders are so pleased with our work that they’ve given us four back-to-back Angie’s List Super Service Awards, putting us in the top 5% of our field. Call us today to arrange a springtime tree assessment for your home. If you’re wondering how much does tree removal cost in Portland read this blog article to learn more.
See What Our Clients Say
“Urban Forest Pro is my number one choice for tree services in Portland! I just had them complete their 2nd job on my property, and I must say I am absolutely blown away with the quality of work and the professionalism of the team. Everyone was communicative and knew exactly what I was looking to have done with my Maple tree in my backyard. They quoted me a great price and completed their work in a timely manner. If I ever need additional tree work at my house, I will come here again. 10/10 would recommend the team to anyone needing work done by certified arborists. Thank you again for everything!”
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