tree disease

Guest Column by City of Lone Tree Forester Sam Waggener

Tree care is critical throughout the year, and summer is the best time of the year to inspect the health of your trees and shrubs. The canopy is fully leafed out and you can check for any signs of pest damage, disease, dieback/winter damage, or rot. Any branches that are dead, suckering, and diseased should be pruned out immediately. Check for any diseases, pests, or stressors. Look at the leaves for curling, spots, leaf scorch, wilting, or discoloration of the leaves.

Pruning Dead Branches

Dead branches can hinder the growth of a tree/shrub, so it is best to remove as soon as possible. Evergreen trees will produce a lot of sap if pruned in the summer, but this can be done in late June or early July. It is always better to prune during the winter months for pines. After pruning any tree or shrub, ensure you water that evening. Plants do most of their active growing during the nighttime, so this is the best time to water, while also saving on water resources.

Dealing with Suckers

Fruit trees readily sucker, as do most trees if stressed, these should be pruned out immediately! Suckers and water sprouts are fast growing stems on a tree, usually from the cause of damage or stress. Suckers are a growth from the base of the tree, usually once these have started, they will continue to be a maintenance headache for the life of the tree. Throughout the entire growing season suckers will need to be pruned out, it is best to cut these suckers closest to the ground as possible without damaging the main roots. Water sprouts are growths from a branch that grow straight up, these need to be pruned so the canopy doesn’t become too dense. Tree canopies that become too dense can break from storms, which was seen from this year’s May spring snow.

Dealing with Those Darn Pests!

Pests are a normal summer occurrence; this can range from aphids to Zimmerman pine moths. Treatment options can be as easy as spraying a tree down with a heavy stream of water to knock off aphids from an infested tree. But sometimes other treatment options are needed, such as the use of pesticides. Recently I had the opportunity to observe and learn from Toni Smith. Toni is the Rocky Mountain Territory Manager of Rainbow Ecoscience and she demonstrated an EAB preventative treatment this month for a mature ash tree. The treatment is a 1,2,3 punch for EAB (Emerald Ash borer), Ash Bark Beetle and Lilac Ash borer.

Water & Mulch Maintenance

Watering during the summer months is paramount for trees, lawn irrigation or light watering for 10 minutes or less encourages weak surface roots. Deep watering is needed for at least 45 minutes, depending on the species of the tree. Move any drip irrigation away from tree trunks to encourage root growth outwards. Watering should occur at or just past the dripline of the tree. Watering any tree at only the base can cause girdling, which in turn will eventually kill the tree.

Lastly, mulch! Mulching trees is a cheap and effective way to increase the health of your trees and shrubs. It helps retain moisture and increases microbial activity in the soil.

More Tree Care Tips

Hopefully these tips will help you maintain beautiful, healthy trees throughout the summer! For more Tree Care tips, visit our Tree Care page here>>