Urban Trees and Spring
Take a second to think about your tree; there’s a good chance that its not growing where it started out! Trees in the Urban Forest live in different conditions than in their natural setting of a forest and can demonstrate many different behaviors!
Trees in Spring
In the spring, trees begin their amazing transformation from being dormant to using the sun to putting on new growth. Spring is a critical time when the health, growth, and maintenance are initiated for the remainder of the year. In this section we will briefly describe what happens when trees break dormancy and why Spring is an excellent time for health treatments.
We will begin treating for Apple Scab (Venturia inaequalis) beginning in March and throughout May. This fungus is responsible for the defoliation of Apples, Crabapples, and Hawthorns in the summer and fall. This greatly reduces the aesthetic value can impact the health of the tree! We will touch base more next month, outlining early signs and symptoms.
Picture the growth habit of a tree in the forest compared to the tree in the front yard, quite different huh? It all starts with where they decide to grow, or rather, where we decide they will grow. We tend to forget that trees are living individuals and when we try to grow trees outside of their native habitat, and
instead in an urban area, they are presented with many unique stressors. Some of these include less than optimal soils, reduced growing space, physical damage and removal of organic matter that helps recycle nutrients (leaves, grass clippings, etc). This introduces them to a myriad of issues down the road.
Trees in a forest will grow tall and skinny unlike the trees in our front yards that have the luxury of sunlight and are able to expand their branches out, not up. While advantageous in its early life, this altered growth habit will lead to poorer structure and limb failures in the future. This is why structurally pruning from a young age is the most beneficial! Although urban trees face many disadvantages from the moment they are put into the soil, preparing them for a long and beautiful life is possible with proper planning, pruning, and healthcare treatments. Stay tuned in upcoming issues for further discussion on stressors that urban trees face!
Trees in Spring
Spring is a busy time for trees as they wake up from winter dormancy! Flowers and leaves begin to burst through the buds which they have remained dormant during the winter, while below the soil surface, new
roots begin to grow. The timing of this process can be monitored by tracking growing degree days (GDD). GDD is calculated based on the average temperature and is used as a diagnostic tool to track the progression of the season. This is often used to determine when we will begin treating for certain insects or health treatments and allows us to take a proactive approach toward plant health care. Spring is when trees begin to establish the leaves and roots that they will continue to use to feed themselves throughout the growing season. This is why the application of health treatments to aid with water and nutrient uptake are so important early in the season! Just like an ever looming new years resolution we keep telling ourselves to stick to, caring now will lead to a healthy and happy tree later.