Winter tree care is necessary to protect your trees from the elements. The cold temperatures and drying winds can be stressful on trees. Learn how to protect trees while weathering the cold season.
In the winter, trees become dormant, making it the best time to prune back weak, damaged, or poorly attached branches and shape young trees. This improves the structural integrity of the tree and reduces the risk of falling or broken limbs when heavy winds, snow, or ice occur.
Avoid Using Salt or Deicer
It is common to use salt or deicer on steps and walkways in the winter months to prevent falls. These products are toxic to trees, inhibiting root growth and preventing tree roots from absorbing water which leads to dehydration. A better alternative is to use kitty litter, sand, or grit.
Mulch is one of the best ways to protect your trees from winter weather. Mulch insulates soil and tree roots from extreme temperatures and slows water loss from soil. Apply a layer of mulch several inches deep at least 3 inches away from the tree trunk. It should extend out as far as the trees canopy to ensure all the roots are covered.
Keep Trees Hydrated
Water your trees when the temperature is above freezing, the water will soak into the soil and be available to the trees when the ground thaws. When the ground freezes from the extreme cold, the tree’s roots are unable to get water.
Protect Young Trees
Sunscald happens when winter sun thaws a tree trunk and cold night air freezes it, causing the bark cells to rupture and create cracks in the trunk. To prevent this, paint the tree’s trunk with white paint or wrap it with white reflective tape. Remove the wrap in the spring. Before a storm occurs, you can cover a young tree with burlap or plastic supported with stakes or a frame to reduce contact with the tree.
Cold temperatures can threaten the health and strength of your trees. Winter tree care will help keep your trees in good condition. Call the professionals at Integrity Tree Care with any further questions or concerns.