Once again it is time to think about a few simple ways to protect your valuable trees. First, sine it has been fairly dry the last 4-5 weeks, water your trees thoroughly once a week until a series of good heavy rains in a 7-10 day period restore the moisture levels. A well hydrated tree will enter the dormancy of late fall and winter in better shape.
Secondly, protect the bark of your trees from damage due to weed whips, mower decks, mice, rabbits, deer antler rubbing and winter sun. Durable, reuseable heavy duty white plastic tree trunk protectors do a great job of protecting tender tree bark from all these threats. Cost is only $3 to $6 each depending on size and type. Install in mid to late august and remove in mid-April. Avoid black draintile since temperature fluctuations could cause bark damage. With white plastic protectors there is very little temperature fluctuation and they are also very easy for quick on and off.
A third way to avoid mechanical damage to tree bark is to keep a five foot diameter circle around the trunk completely free of weeds by spraying herbicide or hand weeding, and then placing a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the entire circle. When there are no weeds anywhere close to the trunk, not much chance exists that the bark will get weed whipped. This won’t prevent animal damage, except fo the two footed human species, so be sure to place on white plastic trunk protectors.