Fall is a great time to plant and prune your trees. The months of cool fall and winter temperatures give newly planted trees and shrubs time to establish their roots before the hot summer weather returns.
Fall Tree Pruning
The goal of fall tree pruning is to improve the growing conditions for the next year’s growing season. After the spring and summer growing seasons, overgrown branches and limbs can cause damage to your property. Removing damaged or diseased limbs will not only contribute to the overall health of the tree, it will also help prevent falling tree limbs. Trees should be pruned to allow “room” for sunlight and breezes to naturally flow through. When done properly, pruning allows more light to shine through the branches and reduces the need for pesticides.
Fall Tree Planting
Did you know that tree roots will grow when the temperature is above 40 degrees? That means tree roots can continue growing during the milder fall and winter weather. This gives them the time to gain the strength they need to deal with hot summers.
Choosing the Right Tree for Your Property
Consult with a professional landscaper before deciding which trees and shrubs to plant. A knowledgeable landscape professional can help you select the right plants for your property by helping you answer these questions:
What type of tree do you want or need?
Do you want an ornamental tree with colorful flowers and foliage or would a shade tree be a better fit for your property?
What size tree will fit in the desired area? Consider the mature height and width of the tree and if it will work in your landscape.
Pay specific attention to the soil conditions, light and water requirements of the tree or shrub.
Terracare Associates specializes in landscape maintenance for commercial properties throughout the western United States. We manage the landscapes of hundreds of retail sites, homeowner associations, multi-family complexes, industrial projects, hotels, municipalities and commercial office campuses.
According to WX Shift, “since 1970 the annual average number of wildfires larger than 1,000 acres has more than double in the western U.S. The typical wildfire season has also stretched by about two and a half months longer over that time.” With years of drought and hotter temperatures stretching into the fall months throughout most of the western U.S., vegetation flammability has increased making wildfires a concern for many municipalities, HOAs and commercial properties. To help curb these concerns, brush management should be an integral part of every landscaping plan.
The USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service defines brush management as “the management or removal of woody (non herbaceous or succulent) plants including those that are invasive or noxious.” Brush management is applied to accomplish many results including reducing fire hazards around structures, helping firefights protect life and property when fires breakout, restoring natural vegetation cover to protect from erosion and more. In the west, many cities, municipalities and counties have established guidelines and rules for managing brush and reducing fire risk. Here are steps to follow when examining and executing brush management:
Step 1: Plan and identify what plants, trees and areas need brush management.
Step 2: Clear as much loose dead wood and invasive species as you can within the area. This will help you see what other plants and trees need care and pruning.
Step 3: Thin the plants and trees in the area. Start by trimming down plants over two feet in height to a height of six inches. This ensures two aspects: the roots remain intact to help minimize soil erosion. Depending on where you are in the country, thinning can be prioritized differently so check with your local county to learn what thinning should be done.
Step 4: Prune all plants or groups of plants that remain after the thinning process. Depending on the type of plant, the “umbrella” shape should be applied where possible. This means pruning lower branches to create umbrella-shaped canopies.
Step 5: Dispose of the cuttings and dead wood properly by either chipping wood to return to your property or by carting it to a landfill.
Step 6: Continue to monitor plants, thinning and pruning annually since plants grow back.
Need help making sure your property is ready for fire season? Send us a note and we’ll work to help you find a custom solution for your property.