Healthy trees are happy trees | Fall in love with your trees

Healthy trees are happy trees | Fall in love with your trees

My monthly newsletter just went out and our feature article was on healthy trees. While we typically deal with interiors, having a beautiful exterior is just as important to a happy home.

Background Information on our own Backyard

We used to have 3 Column Aspen trees in our yard.  I called them the triplets as we planted them in a row.  These trees were planted when our youngest daughter was in Kindergarten. They not only provided us great privacy, they also did a great job with providing us some shade.  They were SO tall!

A couple of years ago we had to remove the triplets due to the root systems of each tree causing havoc in our yard.  Prior to this, our trees had a disease and we had to treat them. They were not healthy trees! Oh, how I miss my triplets.  We had them removed, by Your Tree Doctor, prior to our backyard makeover project.

Healthy trees
Our triplets that are no longer with us. This is prior to our extensive backyard makeover that took place last year.

When we had them removed, we enlisted the help of an arborist.  Since then, we have continued to use Your Tree Doctor for servicing our other trees.  They are wonderful to work with and are extremely knowledgeable.  We recently received some fall tips that I would love to pass on to you. Here’s to happy and healthy trees for your home.

Please note, these tips are for my area that I live in. If you are not sure about your own trees, I would suggest you reach out to a local arborist in your area.

Healthy Tree Tip 1: Stop Watering Trees in September To Harden Them Off

Hardening off trees in our part of the world means putting them under late season drought stress. During our hot summer drought, Your Tree Doctor has been encouraging you to water, water, water. You should keep it up through to the very end of August and then stop. Deny your trees water through September to the last week of October. Then in the last week of October give the trees a thorough soaking.

Denying trees water in the fall water puts them under stress. When trees are under stress they produce plant hormones which direct them to go into a period of dormancy.

Healthy trees

Healthy Tree Tip 2: Fall Fertilizing Options

After deciduous trees shed their leaves, there is an opportunity to top up your trees’ phosphorus reserves. Roots continue to grow until freeze up and can benefit from some extra phosphorus.

Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient and is a key element in a cell’s DNA, RNA, and energy transportation molecules. Due to our prairie soil’s chemistry, phosphorus molecules are immobile, and only a fraction of the total phosphorus is available for roots to absorb.

Your Tree Doctor employs two ways of providing extra phosphorus to your trees.  Our first method, Soil Aeration, is to drill holes around the dripline of a tree and into the rooting zone.  A high phosphorus fertilizer, in the form of  phosphate molecules is then added into the holes. Phosphate molecules are readily broken down contributing to the tree’s metabolism increasing the tree’s capacity to produce DNA, RNA, and energy transport molecules. This method benefits trees by increasing the overall amount of metabolically important phosphorus molecules available to trees.  

Our second method is to insert Phoscap cartridges which contain a phosphorus fertilizer directly into the trunk of the tree. The phosphorus then dissolves directly into the sap.The chemical composition of  the phosphorus molecule in Phoscaps is phosphite, not phosphate. Researchers (mostly Australian) report that phosphite, although a fertilizer, has antifungal/antimicrobial properties. Reports indicate that phosphites play a role in the production of a tree’s natural defensive chemicals resulting in improved disease resistance. 

Either method will make more phosphorus available to your trees, and you might consider annually alternating between the two methods. Your Tree Doctor would be happy to provide a quote on either or both methods of fertilizing your trees.

Healthy Tree Tip 3: Pro-Tip | Premature Fall Colour

In late summer, trees with “circulatory system problems” can more easily be spotted. Look for trees that turn yellow, before neighbouring trees of the same type. Note which trees are prematurely yellow. These are the trees an arborist with years of diagnostic experience (like Your Tree Doctor) should have a look at.

 Early fall colour is a good indicator that a tree’s capacity for photosynthesis is impeded. The impediment might be: 

* Damage to leaves by insect feeding (e.g. aphids) or leaf spots diseases (yellow/brown/black blotches.)

* Sap flow is diverted by insect feeding (e.g. scale.)  

* A slowly spreading disease cutting off or killing some of the vascular system (e.g. bark canker, black knot, root diseases, weak to moderately aggressive vascular disease.)

* Deep damage to the bark (e.g. sunscald.)

* A physical constriction to sap flow (e.g girdling roots, string/wire choking the trunk, insects that feed on the vascular system like bark beetles and wood borers.

* Confined, constricted or bound roots (sidewalk vaults, raised planters, traffic & parking lot islands, overly compacted soil.)  

* Drought (more likely a group of trees rather than individual tree)

* Too much water depriving roots of oxygen and/or nutrients (e.g. flooding, lack of drainage, perched water tables, nitrogen leaching.) 

* Imbalanced soil chemistry (e.g. excessive fertilizing or application of de-icer salts or sudden change in soil alkalinity from calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) exuded by recently poured concrete.

Healthy trees
Look for trees that turn yellow, before neighbouring trees of the same type.

Healthy Tree Tip 4: Pest Watch | Bronze Leaf Disease

Aspen are susceptible to a fungal commonly called bronze leaf disease (uncommonly called   Apioplagiostoma populi). Unmanaged, repeated infection can kill an aspen in as little as two or three years. The current disease strain in Alberta appears to favour columnar type aspens and poplars, such as Swedish aspen, Tower poplar over the wild trembling aspens, native and hybrid poplars.

Healthy trees
If the leaves on your trees start to turn brown like these in the picture displayed, your poor vegetation might have become subject to bronze leaf disease | Article can be found here

Healthy Tree Tips

I hope you have found this article helpful with the trees in your yard. While we are slowly preparing for the winter months, it’s important to carry out some maintenance now for happy and healthy trees in the spring and summer!

Sheri Bruneau

While we don’t bring in our outdoor trees inside, and not everyone has a green thumb, I’ve rounded up some artificial indoor trees that you may consider adding to your home this fall.

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