The end of the growing season for trees in our climate typically comes at the end of June; however, it is somewhat dependent upon a variety of factors such as bud dormancy break, soil temperatures, day and night length, and precipitation. Once the season of growth is completed, trees will set buds for the following season of growth, while continuing to manufacture carbohydrates before they require a period of sleep.
As we move into fall with our cooler daytime and nighttime temperatures, in combination with our shorter days and longer nights, trees are beginning their dormancy period. Trees and shrubs will begin to move the energy currently stored in their leaves into the twigs, stems, branches, and trunks where it will be stored for next year, resulting in millions of falling leaves.
Three pigments are left after the green pigment leaves the leaf and are responsible for the beautiful display we enjoy in the fall. While research has solved part of the mystery surrounding the color changes we see and enjoy, it has not been able to determine the exact reason why certain plants display the colors they do. We enjoy the most vibrant displays of color in years where we receive consistent and generous amounts of moisture, in combination with warm days and cool nights. This may explain why some of the Maples and Oaks displayed more red colors at their branch tips during this growing season, as we had a moist and cool summer.
While the above ground portion of the tree is beginning its winter sleep, the roots below ground will continue to switch between growth and resting phases. With this alternating activity there are some important protective measures you can take to prepare your deciduous and evergreen trees for this critical time:
1. Wrap the trunks of young trees (those that still have smooth bark).
2. Provide a 2" layer of organic mulch material to insulate the roots and preserve moisture.
3. Deep root fertilize in the fall. If you are interested in scheduling a fall, fertilization please contact our office.
4. Periodic watering to protect roots from drying out.
5. Winter pruning (dead, dying, and diseased branches as well as long and heavy branches that could collect snow).
6. If you have problems with rabbits, it may be helpful to install a fence made of hardware cloth around the base of the tree.
7. The best approach to preventing leaf blight issues next season is sanitation. Raking up as many leaves as possible and disposing of them properly will aid in the reduction of leaf diseases.
We still have a few days left of summer, so before the winter preparations on your landscape begin in October, sit back and enjoy the magnificent display of colors in your trees and shrubs! With the moisture and cool weather we have had this summer, we are predicting a glorious display by Mother Nature.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact our office.