As we near the end of quarantine and the beginning of Summer many of us are eager to get outside and enjoy our favorite summer activities. Whether you plan to go somewhere or just spend more time utilizing your home’s outdoor space, one important thing to keep in mind is that while the idea of summer sounds sweet to us it isn’t always so sweet to your trees. A proper summer tree care plan is extremely important when trying to make sure your trees survive the harsh heat and droughts that are associated with the summer months. Whether it’s trimming, irrigation, pest control, or fertilization we’ve reached out to the experts in tree care from Miami to Sacramento to provide you with a full Summer Tree care checklist to ensure your treescape is ready for the season.

Proper Irrigation is Key

Dry hot summer weather can stress trees.  Now is the time to perform a seasonal automatic sprinkler controller adjustment. In Southern California, that means increasing irrigation zone run times or frequency where trees are present. Additionally, do not fertilize or prune trees during the summer as that forces the tree to produce new foliage when it is trying to conserve energy during the summer heat. Wait until the fall to fertilize and prune trees. – Rappoport Development

Established trees need infrequent, deep watering. Even if you water your lawn or have short cloudbursts, make sure to give your trees a good, long drink once a month or so. If rain is scarce, or you use drip irrigation, overhead watering of smaller landscape trees removes dust and debris and improves their look and health. Summer heat is NOT the time for heavy pruning, planting, or relocating. It IS a good time to sit in the shade sip a cool drink and decide where you want to plant a tree in the fall! – American Conifer Society

Every tree requires a different amount of water based on its age, species, planting site, and soil type. When supplemental summer watering is needed, our arborists recommend watering trees deeply, infrequently, at a slow rate, and near the drip zone while avoiding wetting the bark and leaves. Allow the top of the root zone to dry out between waterings. Preventing drought stress in your trees will allow you to enjoy the cool of their shade for years to come. – For The Love Of Trees

The warmer months tend to bring tree-related problems with them. While you need to keep an eye out for bugs and diseases in your trees, making sure your tree doesn’t fall victim to drought can help combat other tree issues! Drought effects can be seen for months, and even years after the first signs are noticed. So here are three quick tips to help your tree steer clear of water stress:

Take Roots Into Consideration

It’s important to be aware of tree roots, especially when trees are near hardscapes like sidewalks, patios, and utilities. Root Barriers effectively manage root expansion without compromising tree health or growth and can be used both on new plantings and existing trees. Root Barriers are mechanical guides that were specifically designed to redirect tree roots down and away from hardscapes, preventing costly root damage while preserving the health and beauty of mature trees. – Deeproot

When planting a new tree, it’s important to consider its maximum mature size and the amount of soil necessary to support proper root growth. This consideration can save the expense of future tree removal or repairs to damaged hardscapes and infrastructure. As a general rule of thumb, and assuming a soil depth of 30 inches, for small mature species, such as most ornamental trees, 80 square feet or greater of growing area is adequate. For larger mature species, such as Douglas fir, western red cedar, or western hemlock, 300 square feet or greater is needed. – The Watershed Company

Be Sure to Inspect

Summer is a great time to inspect your trees for conditions that may influence their long-term viability and catch them early. Look for things like cracks and damage, missing bark or foliage, mold, discoloration, and pests. If you find anything concerning, consult a certified arborist to help you with a treatment plan. – Belknap Landscape Company

Proper pruning every two to five years, depending on the tree and its surroundings, is the most effective way to keep trees healthy and problem-free for generations. Think grooming and hygiene for trees. It is also the most overlooked because unfortunately most tree pruning is done improperly by poorly trained crews. It is truly both an art and a science, and good decision-making is the most important part of the process. – Nova Arborist

The Right Mulch Can Go a Long Way

Now is the time to get your trees ready for what is potentially the most stressful event of the year, the summer drought. The water scarcity brought on by a long, hot summer is one of the most common reasons we see established trees struggling. These drought events have always been present in our region but have been increasing in duration and intensity in recent years as a result of climate change. What can you do to help your trees survive this stress? The answer may sound simple but can be incredibly effective. Put down a 3-inch thick layer of wood chip mulch on the ground under your trees, ideally extending out as far as the edge of the branches. This mulch performs many functions, but most importantly it helps the soil retain water and moderate temperature. Mulch is available from commercial sources as well as many of your local tree care companies. As an added benefit, the mulch will mask debris from your trees, and debris such as seeds and leaves can be left in place to break down into the soil along with the mulch. No more annoying cleanup! – Conservation Tree Care

Don’t Forget to Fertilize

The start of the Summer is the best time to fertilize and make sure your trees and plants are ready for the warmer weather. Our seasoned nursery pros recommend our line of custom fertilizers. Use our fertilizers to take care of the entire yard and be able to enjoy your yard all summer long! – Moon Valley Nurseries

Avoid using “Weed-N-Feed” lawn fertilizers under your trees. Lawn fertilizers in general are not suitable under trees, but products designed to kill weeds as well are very risky. Many trees, such as Live Oaks, grow shoots up in your lawn. These are connected to the root system of your tree, and weed control herbicides can poison your tree by affecting these sucker shoots. We have seen folks use Round-Up on these root sprigs and outright kill their tree! If you have weed issues under your canopies, consult an Arborist before treating the issue. – Good Guys Tree Service

Identify the Specific Needs of Your Treescape

Homeowners can create and maintain their ideal home treescape for summer by having a nonbiased ISA Certified Arborist consultation and not with a salesman, to walk with you to identify your trees’ needs. Remember that improper pruning trains your trees to fail. Homeowners may visit the International Society of Arboriculture’s website for more information. Lastly, structural supports can be installed to strengthen weak points within a tree. – Signature Tree Care

This article originally appeared on the Redfin website on June 9, 2020.