PHOENIX -- With the monsoon season having started already there are key things you should do to help protect your plants and trees from any damage. Once a tree has been uprooted or damaged pretty bad from the high winds the chance of it surviving is slim. Proper staking, pruning and watering during these times will help reduce the chance of any damage but you can never guarantee it when Mother Nature is at work.
You want to allow proper air flow between the branches of the trees as winds pick up so that they don’t end up pulling your tree out of the ground and potentially causing damage. If you just planted a new tree no pruning is required as you want to allow it to grow and not potentially put it into shock but with other trees that have been established you want to check for certain factors like cross branching, and burnt/dead spots from potential frost damage, these areas should be removed. Also any obvious sign would be an obstruction to a walkway around your home or potential branches that are near your home that could also potentially cause damage if something were to happen and the tree gets up rooted by the winds. It is also important to not shape or style your tree because it is not a natural style of growth for the tree and you could potentially enable it to tip over in high winds.
Staking your tree only occurs when you have recently planted a new tree, you generally don’t stake a mature tree. To properly stake a tree you want to place the stakes on the outside of the root ball and perpendicular to the prevailing winds. Nursery stakes should be removed by this point as it is not needed. When tying down the stakes you want place it at a location on the tree that will still allow some swaying motion but not too much. You generally leave the stakes in for 1 to 2 years or depending on what season it was planted and what season is approaching, if a year has passed and the monsoon season is approaching again you can leave the stakes in to make it through the high winds and then remove them. Any longer could potentially hurt the tree so avoid leaving them on for too long.
If you experience any tree branches that have been damaged like splitting or complete breaks just make sure to make clean cuts only around the damaged areas and clean up any areas it could have also damaged. For your plants as long as they are properly trimmed and maintained there is not much else you need to do. If we experience heavy rain for multiple days you may want to cut back on your watering a little bit to not help soften the soil anymore to help reduce potential uprooting.
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