Tree Care Fall Checklist

Promote Healthy Soil Activity


Fall fertilization is important to maintaining healthy trees. Tree Shepherds utilizes a specific formula for the fall, which promotes root growth. For more information on tree fertilization, please click here.


Unprocessed mulch helps maintain moisture, add nutrients to the soil and maintain soil temperatures. It should be spread evenly over the root zone about two to three inches deep. None of the mulch should touch the trunk. This could lead to root problems.


Compost adds nutrients to the soil. It encourages the growth of microbes which, in turn, promote healthy root growth. As with mulch, compost should be spread over the root zone. This is highly recommended for grass as well. Check out Earth Kind Services for compost and organic lawn care services.

Inspect Your Trees

Safety Hazards

Drought, disease, and pests can cause damage to trees, creating an unsafe situation. Inspect trees for: branches with brown tips (“flagging”), holes in the trunk, oozing or weeping coming from the trunk or branches, dieback at the top of the tree’s canopy, broken limbs, missing bark, and other signs of stress. With or without obvious concerns, a professional assessment of your tree’s health is recommended to determine potential risks.


Mushrooms growing on or near the base of your tree is a sign of ongoing decay. A professionally trained arborist will be able to assess the tree’s health and the extent of the decay.

Insect Damage

Seasons of drought and harsh weather can leave trees vulnerable to pests, such as the Emerald Ash Borer. To have your tree inspected properly, hire an ISA Certified Arborist. They are trained in identifying pests and can prescribe the necessary treatment.

Prepare for Winter Conditions

Trim and Remove

Before winter storms hit, it is a good idea to have all dead limbs and branches removed. This will reduce the chances of property damage in the event of ice or strong winds.

Brace Weak Limb Unions

Identifying and bracing weak limb unions is important to protecting you and your tree. Ice and strong winds can place undue stress on weak unions, causing them to break. The loss of a large limb can lead to a tree’s premature death.

Adjust Irrigation

Trees need less water during the winter. To avoid overwatering your trees, adjust your irrigation system accordingly. Overwatering is one of the leading causes of tree disease.

Krista White

Krista White

Krista is a member of the marketing and education team at Tree Shepherds. A lifelong learner, she loves writing about anything from Hemingway to Quercus macrocarpa.