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Checklist: 4 Quick Tips to Protect Your Trees from Damage during Fall

Article and photos reprinted with permission from The Davey Tree Expert Company

Fall_Tree-_Davey_TreeWith fall upon us, we await the arrival of the beautiful, vibrant colors to dawn the leaves of our beloved trees. Over just a few weeks, those bright green leaves transform into shades of dark brown, buttery yellow, deep red and vibrant orange. The changing leaves welcoming you home is one of the best parts of fall.

Pretty soon, after their colorful arrival, you will find yourself raking up the crunchy leaves and bidding farewell to your trees’ foliage for the next couple months.

But how can you be sure that your trees will stay healthy and strong this fall, continuing to welcome you home with their beauty? There’s much more to these majestic trees than the eye can see.

Mark off each of the steps in this fall checklist and your trees will be sure to stand tall and beautiful season after season.

1: Fall fertilization

With a hot summer and cold winter, trees are bound to lose vital nutrients in the soil. To help make sure your trees gain nutrients lost this summer and continue to feed over the winter, apply a slow-release fertilizer to replace nutrients and improve resistance to damage from disease, insects and stressful weather.

2: Hearty hydration

Fall is the season to give your trees a hearty gulp of water before winter strikes. To make sure they are well-hydrated throughout the freezing winter, quench your trees’ roots.

Subsurface watering is an efficient way to reach the tree's roots. Using an injection probe, water is distributed throughout the top 12 inches of soil— the area your trees need water the most. The subsurface watering method is ideal for trees and shrubs without irrigation systems, newly planted trees and trees that need temporary relief from drought stress. 

3: Timely planting

Some trees shed their leaves in autumn and sprout new life in the spring, but did you know fall is actually the opportune time to plant new trees? Since temperatures are much cooler and there is much less chance of stress from sun scorch, drought or extremely high temperatures, newly planted trees get the chance to build root mass and prepare for winter dormancy this season.

4: Equip for the cold

You know winter will arrive after fall, so start preparing now for the snow, frost and cold temperatures. Any sort of extreme weather condition may pose a higher risk of stress for your trees, so cable, brace, and prune them before the snow and ice hit. If your tree has weakened or has broken or rotting branches, it may not be strong enough to withstand the added weight of a heavy snowfall or ice storm. Pruning in fall can be easier because most trees have little to no leaves, exposing the structure underneath.

Trees do many things to make our world better, especially during autumn. By following these four steps this fall, your trees will not only thank you, but will stand stronger healthier and happier because of it.

To promote your trees’ ability to offer their best fall color, talk to a certified arborist at Davey Tree. Find a trusted tree care specialist at

The Davey Tree Expert Company’s more than 8,000 employees provide tree care, grounds maintenance and environmental consulting services for the residential, utility, commercial and government markets throughout the U.S. and Canada. Davey has provided Proven Solutions for a Growing World since 1880 and has been employee-owned for 36 years. For more information, visit