We know the harsh conditions of winter are tough on people, but did you ever think what it does to your trees? Although trees go dormant in the winter, temperature changes cause stress, and even those trees that are native to this region can become vulnerable to the harsh elements.
In winter, trees still need our attention and care. Here are some tips to minimize the stresses of winter and protect your trees through the coldest months of the year.
Winter Tree Pruning
Late winter is the best time to prune trees since they are dormant. Pruning trees helps prevent decay and sets your tree up for healthy and robust growth.
Protective Coverings For Newly Planted Trees
Tree branches and trunks, especially young/newly planted trees, crack and split due to extreme fluctuations between hot and cold. Wrapping tree bark insulates and ensures protection during frosty conditions.
Draping protective material helps protect against frost and conserves heat. Use a breathable mesh or burlap that allows moisture to ventilate. You want to create a tent over the tree, avoiding too much weight on branches. The burlaps, sheets, or tarps need to extend to the ground. Use this protective method for your most vulnerable trees when temperatures drop to freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
Winter Tree Hydration
The lack of water does the most damage to trees in winter. Heading into winter with dry roots can lead to trouble come spring. Long, dry periods without supplemental water can damage root systems and kill your trees. Water your trees until the ground begins to freeze, then monitor weather conditions throughout the winter months. Only water trees when the temperature is above 40 degrees, and there is no snow or ice on the ground near your tree. Water early in the day to ensure your plants have time to absorb before the temperature drops at night.
Insulate With Mulch
Mulch is an organic blanket that provides a layer of protection for your soil; it prevents moisture loss and helps regulate temperature. In addition, mulch prevents cracks in the ground which can dry out a tree’s roots, acting as an insulator for the soil around the tree and its roots. It also slows down water loss. Rodents are known for making mulch their home, so to avoid this, mulch after the ground freezes. Create a “donut” of mulch (not volcano-shaped), having mulch 6 inches away from the trunk.
Remember, we can go indoors to escape winter’s elements, but our trees are vulnerable. Taking care of your trees in the winter will ensure they emerge from winter healthy. Artistic Tree and Landscape Creations are a phone call away when you need help this winter. Call us at 412-303-4443