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Summer Branch Drop

After the wettest summer in fifty years it seems almost laughable now that way back in December I was telling you to try and retain the moisture in your garden beds. That being said, you should still follow the ‘general’ rules for this time of year which is, well, I hate to say it, moisture retention.

Gardens can quickly dry out with a bit of heat so even though your feet might be squelching underfoot, with a few weeks of sunny weather (fingers crossed!) that moisture can quickly be lost.

Bugs and diseases, particularly fungal diseases, are also very active in February so its wise to check your trees and shrubs for early signs so that it can be dealt with quickly.

Tree branches will have suffered under the extra weight of the rain. The water collects on the leaves and you may have noticed some of the longer branches drooping low to the ground. This is a very common occurrence for this time of year and can cause serious injuries to trees and people if not treated, so we have a whole article on it to follow.

All in all it’s a good time to give the entire garden a bit of a general tidy up. You’ll be deadheading like mad but this should encourage flowering right through autumn on most of your summer-flowering plants and shrubs.

As mentioned above summer branch drop is a rather curious event when an outwardly healthy-looking branch simply shears away, sometimes metres from its natural attachment. Also known as ‘summer limb failure’, branches often fall without any tell-tale signs of damage or decay. Summer branch drop is responsible for some serious injuries and even fatalities as branches can often fall without any warning on a still, calm summer’s day. There are many theories as to why this happens.

British Arboriculturist Kevin Rushforth noted that limb failure occurred after heavy summer rains while University of California Professor Richard W. Harris speculated that high humidity in the tree canopy and a reduced flow of water in the xylem (i.e. the wood) caused a build-up of ethylene that weakened cell wall cementation.

Regardless of the science on why it occurs, there are some precautions you can take to reduce the potential hazard of summer branch drop. Firstly you can prune back any long horizontal branches, reducing the overall length and lightening the load. You can also thin out and remove branches to open up the canopy of a tree, decreasing the humidity that may build up inside. Tree health must be maintained, check for any signs of decayed wood or visible wounds, removing any limbs to maintain overall tree vitality. Arbor Pride can take a look at any concerns you may have and provide an obligation-free quote. Call us on 1300 887 417 or click here to enquire via our website.

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