The Tour de Fall
Written by: Board Certified Master Arborist, Kyle Babicky
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne was really onto something when he wrote the above quote in his notebook on October 10, 1842. It’s hard to linger inside on a beautiful fall day when nature shows its fall beauty. The colors of the leaves, the cool crisp air, another Packer victory, mosquitoes disappear, it doesn’t get much better than Fall in Wisconsin.
I doubt Nathaniel was thinking of arboriculture when we wrote down his thoughts on autumnal sunshine, but fall is a great opportunity to get outside to look over your trees and shrubs. Each season provides us a new perspective on the health of trees, and fall is no different.
- Did your trees turn fall color sooner than normal this year? There may be an underlying stress that needs attention.
- Are there signs of insect damage revealed once the leaves are gone? Check viburnum stems for egg pits, ash trees for woodpecker damage, borer galleries on birches, gypsy moth egg masses on tree bark, and so on.
- How does the branching structure look? Maybe there are codominant stems or trunk splits. There could be crowded branching rubbing against each other.
- Can you see a root flare? The base of the tree shouldn’t look like a telephone pole. If you can’t see a root flare, there’s too much soil and/or mulch around the trunk and could have girdling roots.
- What’s the soil like? Can you stick a shovel more than a couple inches into the ground without having to jump on it? The soil could be compacted and hindering root growth. Is the soil too wet? Too dry? Don’t forget to maintain good watering during dry spells up until the ground freezes.
- What’s the wildlife pressure like in your area, specifically deer pressure? You may want to put up trunk protection on your younger, thin-bark trees, or deer fencing around plants like arborvitae.
These are just a few examples of many that we can observe on trees as we head into fall. Realizing this can be a lot for a homeowner without having the training and experience, however you have a powerful tool at your fingertips. The staff of Certified Arborists at Wachtel Tree Science love to help keep your trees healthy and beautiful, and we are always just a phone call or email away!