Excessively dry weather the last four weeks has made area trees stressed as fall approaches. Two simple measures can offer excellent protection for your trees as they prepare to shut down for the winter.
First is a good deep watering. For established landscape trees, shrubs and perennials, I like to place a sprinkler and let it run for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and then move it to another area. This is the equivalent of a good slow soaking rain of a couple of inches, and will lessen the stress on trees as they store energy in their root systems for next season’s growth.
Second is the installation of white trunk protectors on young shade trees and ornamental trees to protect against damage to the bark from mice, rabbits, deer antlers and winter sun. Do not use black draintile be cause temperature fluctuations increase the chances of bark “blowing out” in late winter. A variety of white tree protectors in 3 ft and 4 ft tall sizes are available for just a few bucks a piece and they can be re-used for 4 or 5 winters. I prefer that 4 ft height in case snow depths get really deep.
Install white plastic tree trunk protectors in late August or September, and remove the first week of April, and store them for re-use the next fall/winter. Do not leave the trunk protectors on all year round. Continue protecting tree trunks until the trunk diameter reaches or exceeds 5″-6″ in diameter. As bark thickens with age, it is less vulnerable.
Remember that Fall is a great time for planting and that excellent values are available this time of year. Enjoy the wonderful Autumn days in your garden.