Winter is almost over, and before long, spring will be in the air. You might be waiting for the warm weather to do some landscaping and tidy up your yard, but in fact, you should start this process before spring arrives. Your trees, in particular, can benefit from some care in the late winter. Here are three things to do for your trees before spring arrives.
Have Them Trimmed
Late winter is actually the best time of year to have most trees pruned. The exception is maple trees, which bleed a lot if you trim them at this time of year. Leave the maple trees for summer, but have all of your other trees trimmed before the weather warms up. They lose less sap when pruned in late winter, and they are also less likely to attract insects that may carry fungal diseases.
If pruning the tree yourself, make sure you don't remove any more than 1/3 of its branches. Remove branches that cross each other, come out at a strange angle, or show signs of fungal growth such as spots or black sores.
Clean Up Leaves
Hopefully you raked up leaves last fall. They have a tendency to blow around and re-accumulate under the tree during the winter. Fungi can live in these leaves over the winter, and when the weather warms up, they may start breeding and infect the tree. So take the time to rake up any fallen leaves and other debris beneath the tree before the spring weather rolls in. Burn the leaves to kill any fungal spores they might contain.
Fertilize the Tree
Now is a good time to apply some fertilizer around the tree. Even if the ground is still hard, once it starts thawing and the spring showers come, the fertilizer will slowly soak down into the ground and nourish the tree. Look for a balanced fertilizer, such as an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer. These supply equal portions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A fertilizer advertised particularly for trees is also a good choice. If you want to go the organic route, spread some mushroom compost around the tree -- it's a good, balanced source of nutrients.
If you follow the three steps above to care for your trees this winter, they will be in so much better shape once the warmer season arrives. Plus, you will have fewer landscaping tasks to worry about in the spring. Visit a site like http://www.prtree.com for more info.