With the sap retreating to the trunk and primary structure of the tree, late fall and early winter are excellent times for pruning. Effective pruning is more than just cutting dead or damaged branches; it also involves the removal of small, interior branch starts (often called suckers) and sometimes the thinning of the canopy.
Removal of dead or damaged limbs and suckers allows the tree’s nutrients to flow to the healthy new growth rather than dead ends. This enhances the overall health of the tree. Additionally, this type of pruning coupled with proper pruning in the canopy will make the tree less susceptible to damage from wind and ice.
Though spring often inspires us to put down fresh mulch, fall is truly the best time. So what are the best practices for mulching around trees and shrubs? The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), in a recent newsletter, recommends well-composted mulch be spread at a depth of 2 – 4 inches in a minimum radius of 3 feet from the trunk. Extending the mulch to the drip line will produce even better results.
The mulch should not be “volcanoed” around the trunk which traps moisture and leads to decay. New mulch may be added on top of old mulch if it is aerated by raking and the maximum depth is kept to 4 inches. Compacted mulch can lead to “souring” resulting in insufficient oxygen reaching the tree. Further, the methanol and acetic acid released can harm surrounding plants.
Mulching, done properly in the fall and when coupled with fertilization and pruning, will keep your trees healthy and beautiful.
Keeping Your Property Safe
With the inevitable snow and ice of winter, slip and fall accidents will occur. In fact:
- There are one million slip and fall accidents each year.
- 300,000 people are hurt or disabled.
- 17,000 people die.
- The average cost of an employee slip and fall is $28,000. (Source: www.wainjurylaw.com).
Maintaining parking lots, walks and other access points is essential to minimizing the risk of a customer’s or employee’s slip and fall accident. McCullough’s offers full season, expert ice and snow management for businesses and commercial property. Call us today to take the worry out of winter and keep your property safe.