How to Prepare Your Fort Dodge Area Trees & Shrubs For Winter

The crisp cool, scent of fall is in the air. Kids are back to school, college football is on TV, and pumpkins have suddenly started appearing everywhere. It’s also the perfect time to start preparing our Fort Dodge area lawn and landscape for the upcoming winter. This includes your precious trees and shrubs.

To ensure your trees and shrubs come back healthy and strong in the spring, there are a few things you can do right now to make sure this happens. Follow along as your friends at Smitty’s Lawn and Landscape provide a few tips on how to prepare your beloved lawn ornaments for anything our Iowa winters have in store for us.fertilizing a tree by hand

Deep Root Fertilization

Autumn is a great time to give your trees and shrubs a deep root feeding. This is because, during this time, trees are storing up nutrients before they go dormant for the winter. In the spring, they will use these nutrients to help promote leaf growth. Deep root fertilization is different than traditional fertilization in that it goes directly to the root zone. A mixture of insecticides, nutrients, and water is injected under high pressure.  Deep root fertilization can also help make your plants more resilient to drought, pests, and disease. 

Add Mulch to Protect Your Fort Dodge Trees and Shrubs
Adding mulch to the base of your trees and shrubs will add a pop of color to your landscape as well as help protect them from the harsh cold of our Fort Dodge winters. A thin layer of mulch acts as a blanket covering your trees and shrubs’ roots. Mulch also helps to retain moisture inside your soil giving your roots the added hydration they need. Then, when spring comes back around that layer of mulch will help prevent and stop weeds from growing.

When applying mulch, try to choose one that is organic such as wood chips or shredded bark as it will decompose and add nutrients to your soil. Apply no more than one to three inches around your tree and try not to pile it up against the trunk.

Fall Pruning

After all the leaves fall off your trees, you will be able to see their structure much better. This will make it easier to prune them. Pruning is vital for the health and wellbeing of your trees. It helps relieve stress and encourages growth in other parts of the tree. The best time to prune your trees and shrubs is during the fall and winter months while the plant is dormant. This is ideal for two reasons:

  • Pests and diseases are not as active
  • It’s easier to see what you are doing when all the leaves are gone
  • Less likely to hurt or damage the tree

Stop Overwintering Insects With Dormant Oilpruning dead branches

Common tree damaging insects such as aphids, sawflies, tree scales, and mites love to seek shelter inside the branches and stems of your dormant trees. When spring comes around, they too awake, and their eggs hatch ready for a feast. Many are sap-suckers, sucking out sap and causing a black-sooty fungus to grow, while others are chewing pests and munch on your plant’s leaves while borrowing in the tree’s tissues. Both cause damage to your trees, including discoloration, wilting, holes in leaves, and skeletonization. 

An excellent way to protect your trees from these pests is through the use of dormant oil. Sprayed over the entire tree, it cuts off the insect’s air supply and neutralizes the insects before they become a threat. It is environmentally safe and will not harm your trees or other wildlife. 

Plant New Trees On Your Fort Dodge Area Landscape

Because fall typically signifies the end of the growing season here in the Fort Dodge area, we don’t think about planting new trees. However, the cooler weather is perfect for stimulating root growth. Even after trees go dormant and the leaves fall off, as long as the ground isn’t yet frozen, root activity is taking place. Planting during this time can help establish the roots before the warm spring air gets here, allowing the tree to store nutrients and get set.

Protect Your Beloved Lawn Ornaments With a Tree and Shrub Care Program Through Smitty’s Lawn and Landscape

At Smitty’s Lawn and Landscape, we recognize that trees and shrubs have different needs than your lawn. The only company in the Fort Dodge area providing this type of service, Smitty’s Lawn and Landscape offers an effective tree and shrub care program to help maintain and protect your beloved trees and shrub’s health. Know at Smitty’s as our plant health care program, it includes a free tree and shrub inspection, deep root fertilization, disease, and insect control, and pruning and trimming.

Our experienced and trained professionals will come out, assess your trees and shrubs, and develop a practical solution. Call 515-576-0985 or contact us online today to learn more about our tree and shrub care program.

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