Year-round gardening: November tree checkup
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Posted by: Dana Walker
Once you’ve raked the leaves and needles, it’s tempting to stop thinking about tree health.
This is a great time, though, to do a few things for your trees. Here are some tasks that should be completed over the next couple of months.
Pruning: Deciduous trees are best pruned during their dormant period. Check all trees for signs of diseased, damaged or broken branches. Remove any you find. Look for branches with brown leaves that persist on the stem, on the most recent growth. You can tackle two phases of treatment during late fall and winter. First, prune off the diseased branches. During the growing season, you must be cautious, cleaning the pruning blade between each cut. But in the dormant season, the bacteria are wintering over in the cankers you find in diseased branches. Cross-contamination is not as likely because the bacteria are inactive. Remove the affected branches below the damage, such as cankers. The second step is to contact an arborist and schedule a bactericide spray during the bloom season. A good arborist will show up at just the right time to apply the antibiotic, when the tree is in bloom. The antibiotic will kill the bacteria, and rain will wash them away. For more information on fire-blight management, consult the Cornell University fact sheet at nysipm.cornell.edu/factsheets/treefruit/diseases/fb/fb.asp.