Keeping trees healthy is a year ’round responsibility. Whether your focus is on the back yard or the “back 40,” the Georgia Forestry Commission has a wealth of resources to help you cultivate the best growing conditions possible.

GFC’s recently redesigned website contains an abundant array of fact sheets, videos, multi-media presentations, websites and contacts to assist you with questions and advice specific to your needs. Here’s a great place to start exploring the many topics associated with tree care. This guide is also a valuable resource.

Summer is an especially important season for insuring the health of your trees. It’s a time when too much or too little water can have an impact, when conditions are ripe for insects and disease to encroach, and when windy storms can bring down branches and even whole trees.

Mulching is perhaps the most important summer tree care tool available to homeowners and landowners. To retain moisture, GFC foresters recommend two to three inches of organic material be laid just off the tree trunk and out to the drip line – the imaginary line on the ground at the furthest edge of a tree’s canopy.

Proper watering is critical when temperatures rise, especially for your trees. Though there are exceptions, trees normally only need supplemental watering in the first couple or few years after planting. Five to seven gallons of water per caliper inch (measure in diameter, six inches off the ground) is recommended. Water as needed, allowing the ground to go completely dry before applying more water. Once a week, or twice during the hottest months, is usually adequate.

Pre-storm pruning is also a wise practice. Look for signs of tree trouble in the form of cracks, splits, failing branches, and disease. Contact an independent certified arborist or a GFC forester with concerns.

While you’re considering the health of your trees, take a moment to appreciate the many ways healthy trees contribute to healthy lives. Science is proving what we’ve inherently known for a long time. Read more about it here. Then breathe deeply and enjoy a happy, healthy summer!