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Tree Inspections During Summer: Keep Your Landscape Healthy

Serving the Greater Madison, WI area and Dane County

Trees covering sun during sunset

As summer rolls in and the sun warms up your yard, it’s important to adjust your gardening tactics to account for the heat. The hotter and drier conditions can be hard on your trees and other plants, but investing a little extra time and care can keep your landscape in great condition through the whole season. Here, the experts at Accurate Tree Services + H&H Arborists share their top summer tree care tips to keep your property beautiful and healthy.

How to Tell If Your Tree is Unhealthy During Summer

Observing your trees regularly during the summer can reveal important clues about their health. Signs of stress often manifest visibly: wilting or yellowing leaves, especially on the outer edges, can indicate insufficient water or nutrient uptake. Cracked or peeling bark may suggest extreme heat or drought conditions. 

Additionally, stunted growth, premature leaf drop, or unusually sparse foliage might signal underlying issues such as root damage or pest infestation. Taking note of these signs early on allows for timely adjustments to watering, mulching, or other care practices, ensuring your trees thrive through the summer months.

How to Care For Your Trees During Summer

Taking care of your trees during summer is all about keeping them healthy and thriving despite the heat. From watering to soil quality, there are a few key aspects you should focus on to promote tree health when the weather is hot. 

Summer Tree Watering Tips

As temperatures rise, trees lose moisture rapidly through transpiration, especially in hot, dry climates. Insufficient water can lead to stress, weakened defenses against pests and diseases, and even permanent damage or death for young or vulnerable trees. To provide your tree with enough moisture, try following these steps:

  • Water in the early morning or evening: Watering in the middle of the day when temperatures are highest will dry out the soil much faster and prevent your tree from soaking up all it needs—and it can increase your risk of blistering leaves. Instead, water in the dawn or dusk hours when it’s cooler and the sun is less intense. 
  • Apply a layer of mulch: Mulch is a layer of organic material that sits on top of soil. In the summer, it serves as a great protection against fast water evaporation. Applying some organic mulch around the base of your tree will help lock moisture in. 
  • Avoid overwatering: A common mistake is to think that, since it’s so hot out, more water is always better. But, overwatering can cause problems like pest infestations or fungal growth. Water deeply, but avoid water logging the soil. 
  • Water deeply: If the water can’t reach the tree’s roots, it won’t do a lot of good for your plant’s health. Ensure water reaches the tree’s root zone, which is typically within the top 12-18 inches of soil for most trees.

Keep Pests Away From Your Tree

During the summer, pests become more active due to warmer temperatures and increased availability of food sources. Trees, especially those stressed by heat or drought, often become vulnerable targets for insects to feed on. Without fast treatment, an infestation could severely damage or even kill your tree. Some early signs of pests in your trees include:

  • Visible Damage: Chewed or skeletonized leaves, discolored or stippled foliage.
  • Presence of Insects: Visible insects on leaves, branches, or trunk.
  • Webbing or Silk: Silk tents or webs on branches, indicating spider mites or other pests.
  • Galls or Swellings: Abnormal growths on leaves or stems caused by insect activity.
  • Premature Leaf Drop: Insect feeding damage may cause leaves to drop early.
  • Honeydew or Sooty Mold: Sticky substance or black mold on leaves, a byproduct of aphids or scale insects.

Pruning infested branches or introducing natural predators such as ladybugs can help you treat pest infestations, but depending on how severe the problem is, it may be best to ask an arborist for help. They can build a custom treatment plan and provide ongoing care until the problem is fully resolved. 

Think About Soil Care

Nutrient-rich soil is important all year long, but it’s especially vital during the summer when trees are out of dormancy and dealing with the stress of heat. Healthy soil provides necessary nutrients, regulates moisture levels, and provides your plants with everything they need to thrive. Here are the basics of summertime soil care:

  • Mulching: Mulching is crucial in summer to conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds. Apply a 2-4 inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of the tree. Leave a small gap between the mulch and the trunk to prevent moisture-related issues.
  • Aeration: Consider aerating compacted soils around trees to improve air circulation and water penetration. Compacted soils can restrict root growth and nutrient uptake, leading to stressed trees.
  • Fertilization: Evaluate the need for fertilization based on soil tests and tree health. In summer, slow-release fertilizers can provide nutrients gradually without causing excessive growth that might be vulnerable to heat stress.
  • Weed Control: Regularly remove weeds around trees, as they compete with tree roots for nutrients and water. Mulching helps suppress weeds, but manual removal or use of organic weed control methods may also be necessary.

When to Get Professional Tree Care

If you notice significant signs of stress such as extensive leaf loss, abnormal growth patterns, or persistent pest infestations that are beyond your ability to manage, it’s advisable to consult a professional arborist. They can assess the overall health of your trees, diagnose specific issues, and recommend tailored treatments. Professional help is also a great idea if you’re planning a larger-scale project like major pruning. Whatever you need, experts like those at Accurate Tree Services + H&H Arborists are always happy to help!

Tree Inspections During Summer: Keep Your Landscape Healthy in the Greater Madison, WI area

Serving Dane County

Madison | Verona | Fitchburg | Middleton | Monona | Waunakee | McFarland | Sun Prairie | Oregon (WI) | Cross Plains

Stoughton | Cottage Grove | DeForest | Belleville | Mount Horeb