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Autumn Tree Care Tips

words by George Hempel

During autumn is the time when deciduous trees are preparing to go to sleep over winter and waking up for the next spring, so it's an important time for the tree to gather the last lost sugars and nutrients before going to bed.

I often said to people, autumn is a little bit like the preparation for having supper or a cocoa before going to sleep. It’s like a child being happy and having a nice cocoa, a bedtime story, and a pleasant time; they likely to sleep better and are likely to wake up better. That's the same thing with trees. If your tree is given some seasol towards the end of summer, there are also other little tricks we can do to ensure that the tree has had a pleasant summer and is going to have a nice autumn. One of the things that is also important is that with autumn trees, once the vegetation has lost their leaves, they're not dead; they're adornment and so the sugar they've got with them, they aren't able to make any more and the sugar that they've got is what they need to wake up with.

If you're waking up and you're already hungry, tired and grumpy because you haven't slept well and I'm asking you to go on a marathon run and you've had no breakfast, you're not going to go very far, you're going to fall over or fall apart. The same thing with the trees. Trees that have had a good supper, have had a good time in autumn, will wake up in spring far happier and far healthier.

It's not a time of still saying oh right all the hard work is done. It's the time when you finalise this year. I look at the year not necessary when it’s January 1st, the beginning of the year. I look at spring as being the beginning of the year, and then you have to go through the stages.

As autumn is just the third stage of the growing, the winter is the last stage, and there's basically no growing, but you want to make sure that everybody is happy and is able to sleep well. That’s for trees that are deciduous primarily, these are northern hemisphere trees, we have other ones that are deciduous, but that's primarily it. If you're looking at trees that are non-deciduous, that evergreen basically all the way through, then autumn is just another growing season, all be a little bit slower, but it's still growing. It may not have the vigour of growth as it has in summer and you know the soil temperatures are lower than maybe there might be lower water content and availability with rain.

There maybe problems, even like snow, for example, something we might have in the mountains, which may changes the tree's ability to look after itself cause the weight of the snow. Treating a deciduous tree is different to treating an evergreen tree. An evergreen tree I would be looking at autumn as just being another cycle in the growth period.

I often say that to people that if you can seasol once a season for a non-deciduous tree, an evergreen tree, once a season, its four times a year, once in spring, once in summer, once in autumn, once in winter because those trees are always growing. They grow slower in winter, maybe don't need as much, but they have different needs. They are also going in a bit of “Huh, right. I'll just catch my breath ready for spring because in spring, I'm going to put more leaves on, I'm going to have to compete with the guy next door. I'm going to put my flowers on. I'm going to make sure that I attractive for the bees to come, so I can reproduce, I've got to have lots of pollen ready, I’ve got to have lots of honey ready, I've got to have everything ready to go. Again, autumn and winter are the time preparing for Spring. That’s what I would be doing.


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