County Agent Update
Fall Tree Care
With the leaves starting to change colors, which means it will soon be time to start yearly fall clean up, many people will bag or discard the leaves that lay on their lawn. But what does one do to take care of trees. When cleaning up the leaves on your lawn, make sure you remove the leaves that are around the base of the tree to lower the potential of leaf and canker diseases. Preventing those diseases is important to protect the health and to keep the beauty of the tree. A lot of people wonder when the best time to prune trees is, well dead branches can get pruned out at any time of the year. When you want to trim lower branches or shape a tree it is best to do that when the tree is dormant. Generally late fall, around November, or early spring are the best options. It is important to keep trees as healthy as possible before winter, especially the younger trees. Tree roots will absorb water until the soil temperature drops below 40 degrees for a period of time. So watering after the leaves have dropped is beneficial, older trees or ones not planted within the last 5 years do not necessarily need watering, as the trees have more extensive root systems to obtain water. It is recommended that you provide between five to ten gallons of water per week, per inch diameter of your tree. While removing the leaves and watering the trees are a great way to keep the trees healthy, there is one thing that we can do to try to prevent damage from rodents and rabbits. Wrapping the trunk of the tree, up to the first branch or three feet, with a light-colored tree guard such as kraft paper or white plastic tubing are the most common. This will protect the bark from rodents feeding on it during the winter months, but once spring has arrived it is important to remove all of the wrap to prevent future damage. This will also protect young trees from winter sunscald which can occur on the southwest exposure of the trunk.
Planting trees in the fall is definitely an option, but the time to do it is now. With the cooler temperatures planting now allows the trees to acclimate to its new home with low to no stress from high air and soil temperatures. Some nurseries might not have a huge selection of trees left at this time of year, but make sure to select one that is good to zone 3. For great success of fresh plantings or recent plantings, following the above information will keep the tree healthy. This information was gathered from the Carrington Research Extension Center.
Keeping bugs out
With the cooler weather coming, we are now seeing more insects entering our home. There are a few things that can be done to keep the amount of insects entering your home to a minimum, first thing is to clean out flower beds and extra items from around your home. Keeping items close to the house creates a warmer area that insects like to inhabit for the winter months. Make sure all entrances or cracks are sealed, quickest option is to use spray foam. Lastly on the list is to spray the foundation, using a store-use pesticide is one option. The other that some have had some success with is mixing detergent (3 tablespoons) per gallon of water and spraying that around the foundation.