Of all the types of trees in Michigan, the ones that dominate our landscape the most are Deciduous trees. These are trees that lose their leaves after the growing season is complete. They provide us with beauty from early spring to late fall.
Yep. Fertilizing trees in winter is a thing. It’s often called dormant feeding and it has its advantages.
Many arborists and landscapers, particularly in the north, fertilize trees and shrubs from late fall through late winter. But some will wait until early spring when they’re actively developing above ground. In either case, the trees are still dormant.
But there are some added benefits to fertilizing trees in winter. It may not be the ideal time of year for you (unless you have a good winter coat). But let’s find out why winter is such a great time to fertilize.
Why Fertilize Trees In Winter?
Fertilizing trees in winter is considered safe for deciduous trees, or trees that lose their leaves at the end of the growing season. By fertilizing when the tree is dormant, you eliminate the risk of leaf burn.
Spraying water, fertilizer, or chemicals onto plant leaves in hot, sunny conditions is the most common cause of leaf burn (aka leaf scorch). Leaf scorch can happen when the water on the leaf (in the hot sun) acts as a magnifying glass. It can intensify the sunlight that’s reaching the leaf, cause it to overheat, and ultimately burn.
Another reason you may want to fertilize in the winter is if you notice your tree leaves yellowing before they are supposed to. Yellowing leaves could be a sign that the pH level in your soil is off. An easy way to replenish it is through fertilization.
What Type Of Fertilizer Should Be Used?
pH isn’t the only nutrient trees lack from time to time. Nitrogen is a vital nutrient that is required for numerous plant processes. Phosphorus and potassium are also found missing in most soils, so they too should be replenished.
How To Fertilize Trees In Winter
Before you begin, it’s critical to understand how to apply tree fertilizer, especially in the winter. Typically, you’d use a liquid fertilizer around the base of your tree. To determine how far out away from the base you should fertilize, think of it this way. For every inch of trunk diameter at chest height spread your fertilizer around the tree. So, if your chest is 4 feet off the ground, you’ll want to spread in a circular pattern about that large.
Established trees or mature trees will need more fertilizer than newly planted ones. Getting a soil test done can also help you determine the amount and type of fertilizer that you need. You’ll be able to determine the precise amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium needed for the types of trees you have in your yard.
Another option is to get tree injections. Tree injections are very effective because they provide nutrients directly to the root system. They’re typically part of a fall fertilization plan but are a great option if the ground is already frozen.
Fertilizing Is An Important Part Of A Tree Care Plan
No matter what time of the year you decide to do it, fertilizing is a critical part of any tree care plan. And Safari Tree’s experts are here to help. Whether it’s laying out an annual schedule for your trees and shrubs, or handling your fertilization needs first-hand. We’d be happy to provide you with a strategy that will keep your yard looking its best. Contact us at any time.
Whenever the topic of fertilizer comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is probably your lawn. But your trees and shrubs need nourishment, too, especially before the snow starts flying. And there are many good fall fertilizers for trees and shrubs that you can try.
The Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is one of the types of trees that are native to Michigan. Hemlocks are characterized by their flat, dark green needles with silvery undertones. Their bark is also deeply grooved their branches are typically described as “drooping”.
This evergreen conifer is not only beautiful, it’s home to many wildlife and can be found in many parts of the United States.
So, let’s take a closer look at the Eastern Hemlock tree, where it likes to grow, and what is threatening its existence.
Eastern Hemlock Facts
Although it’s a native tree to Michigan, the Department of Agriculture says you’ll find Eastern Hemlocks all over North America. It extends from eastern Minnesota to southern Quebec, then through Nova Scotia, before descending via the Appalachian Mountains to reach northern Georgia and Alabama. It grows in various national parks and is the state tree of Pennsylvania.
Local growing conditions determine the size of these trees, but in favorable conditions, they can reach up to 70 ft. in height and spread out up to 35 ft. A Hemlock can stand over 100 feet tall in some places, typically near the Atlantic coast and in the Appalachian Mountains where the trees often reach their greatest height.
It grows into the shape of a pyramid, but one of its most distinctive traits is the dropping nature of its branches.
Hemlock prefers north-facing slopes of hills and mountains or tucked into ravines where there is more shade and cooler conditions. Mature hemlocks are shade tolerant. They also prefer acidic, well-drained soils that are moist.
Its pinecones are very small and hang from the tips of new growth of twigs. Other common names of this evergreen include Canada hemlock and hemlock spruce.
Birds Love Hemlock Trees
Numerous bird species prefer hemlocks as nesting trees. They are protected by their tall branches and dense foliage. Kinglets and several other types of warblers, such as Blackburnians and black-throated greens, are among the birds that build their nests on hemlock trees.
For birds like crossbills and pine siskins, the seed cones are a source of food throughout the winter. Deer like to lie under the branches of hemlock, and porcupines eat its little twigs for breakfast. Where the snow isn’t too deep, they’ll use them as a refuge.
Pests That Threaten Eastern Hemlock
In recent years an invasive pest called woolly adelgid has been terrorizing Eastern Hemlocks. It’s wreaking havoc in areas of Canada and the northeastern United States where hemlock is the main forest tree as well as an ornamental. Researchers believe the wooly adelgid arrived in Michigan on infested nursery stock from northeastern states.
The wooly adelgid is an aphid-like insect that attacks the tree by inserting its long mouthparts at the base of needles. Once it’s attached, it begins to feed on the tree’s stored starches. They will remain in the same spot their whole life, growing into adulthood and continually feeding on the tree. This damages the canopy of the tree by disrupting the flow of nutrients to its twigs and needles. The tree will typically die within 4-10 years.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development continues to verify new detections of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid. They believe the spread occurs in a couple of different ways. The insects can be transported to new locations by wind, birds or mammals coming into contact with an infested branch, or by cars, boats or RVs parked under infested trees.
Protect Your Eastern Hemlock
The Safari Tree pest control package combines killing insects and their larvae by strengthening your tree. If your trees are stronger they’ll be able to survive the pests that do manage to attack.
We start in the spring by spreading dormant oil on your trees. This will cut down on early insect infestations. We will also fertilize your tree’s deep roots later on in the season. This allows it to thrive all summer long.
In fact, our 7-step tree healthcare program is perfectly designed for Michigan’s four-season climate. If you’re interested in learning more about how Safari Tree can protect the trees in your yard, contact us today.
Although Michigan doesn’t have an official state color, the primary color of the flag is blue. And it’s tough to walk around (especially near Ann Arbor) and not hear someone utter “Go Blue!”
Of all the types of trees in Michigan that share unique features, Catalpa trees may take the cake. Catalpa speciosa (as they are also known) are also called cigar trees. It’s a reference to the long, thin seed pods that bear the trees’ fruit. In southern Michigan, this type of tree is a common native species.
You’ll see blue spruce trees all over Michigan. Why? Their blue foliage and good growth rate make them favorites to plant here. But Michigan’s hot, humid climate also makes them susceptible to disease.
Sometimes it’s easy to spot a stressed tree or tree stress. You can tell by looking at it if it may be suffering from a disease or a lack of nutrients. But how do you know?
When it comes to taking care of your trees, you have a couple of options. You could use sprays to fertilize and protect them. Or you can have a professional perform direct injections into your tree. They will use a tree injection kit.
It’s that time of year again. The time of year when oak trees in Michigan are at high risk for one particular disease. Oak wilt season starts on April 15 and goes through July 15. It’s a serious fungal disease that attacks white oak and red oak trees. And, if not treated, it can kill them within a few weeks of infection. It’s called oak wilt.