Winter can be harsh on trees. Many people aren’t aware of this – they think trees are indestructible even though they may show clear signs of distress in freezing weather.
This is far from true – trees undergo intricate processes on the inside that need protection so they can reach their full potential the next spring and for years to come.
Caring for your trees is as simple as some pre-winter preparation steps. Keeping two themes in mind – minimize and protect – the three steps below are great suggestions for caring for your trees.
1. Check for Leaning, Drooping, or Dead Branches
Snow and ice can be heavy and some branches may not be strong enough to support the weight. Therefore you’ll want to minimize these weak branches. If the branches are dead, the best option will be to remove them. However, if they aren’t dead, you should brace them so they don’t snap under pressure.
The protection part of this is more for your home. You don’t want the branches to fall onto your roof. This will lead to a damaged tree as well as a damaged roof – double trouble. No one wants expensive roof repairs, especially in winter.
2. Cover Smaller Trees to Protect Them from Snow
If large branches can’t stand up to the snow, it makes sense that small trees may not be able to stand up to the snow. In order to protect them, you can cover them, also known as wrapping them. You can find professional tree wrap at a local hardware store or nursery. The wrap comes in many different colors, but the darker the wrap, the more sun it will absorb which can harm the tree. Stick with a white or clear wrap to be on the safe side.
You should also minimize the exposure of the roots of small trees from the weather. Adding extra layers of mulch helps to seal in warmth to the tree roots. It also prevents excess moisture from soaking the roots (this could block the tree roots from absorbing much-needed nutrients).
3. Reduce Pruning and Watering Early
Pruning is a great process in spring and summer, but not during cold weather. You should stop pruning your trees in early fall because the fresh cuts won’t heal properly in cold weather. This is because the tree is using all of its nutrients to survive the cold rather than heal itself.
You should ease up on watering your trees in early fall to allow the soil to harden in preparation for fighting frost. Don’t decrease too much – you should still water them enough to keep them healthy. Then, water your trees properly through late fall to get them back on track.
Good preparation for winter goes a long way in keeping your trees healthy, your home safe, and your mind at peace. These three tips will get you going in the right direction. Implement them before the winter weather hits for the best results.