Winter can be hard on everyone, including shrubs and trees! But when safety measures are taken, trees can be helped to survive through another season. The shortage of water, fluctuating temperatures, drying winds, and other elements make for a stressful winter, especially if plants and trees are not indigenous to the environment they are planted in. Plants are harmed by cold damage through dieback, sun scald, frost heaving and root injury. So we should lend a helping hand by taking some preventive measures.
Drought like conditions can be created by both lack of running water and drying winds in winter. Roots are unable to replace moisture by absorbing water once the ground freezes and if the tree doesn’t have enough water stored, it may lead to leaves drying out and dropping. To avoid this, trees and shrubs should be watered until the ground freezes, that way, water needed to last through winter can be absorbed.
Providing good drainage is an easy way to protect your shrubs and trees. Poorly drained wet soil expands and contracts a lot more in winter months. This sometimes heaves the roots out of the soil, but can be mitigated and roots kept in place by soil that is well drained.
Mulch is a very useful winter tree care component that achieves the following: keeps a constant temperature on the ground, helps roots avoid protruding through the soil, and retains the moisture in the soil. A benefit of organic or biodegradable mulch is that it will eventually break down and further enrich the soil. Cover tree bases with around four inches of dry leaves to create mulch, but remember to leave a few inches between the tree trunk and the mulch. Chicken wire and fallen tree branches can be used to secure and keep the mulch in place.
When necessary the trunks of trees can be wrapped to prevent winter damage. Young trees can be vulnerable to frost damage, and older trees can be nibbled by hungry animals. Tree barks can be protected from cracking by wrapping.
Planting trees in sheltered areas can protect them from wind and snow damage. Consider this during planting if you live in an area that experiences high wind and or snow.
A burlap snow fence is useful and blocks some wind and snow but let’s in the necessary sunshine. Although snow should be knocked off the burlap before it freezes and causes damage to branches. During winter, when plants are dormant, it is recommended that horticultural or dormant oil is sprayed to repel insects. These oils can be sprayed on everything from lilacs to fruit trees.
Winter months can be harsh on your shrubs and trees. However, using the above measures can prevent stress and help your trees survive the cold season. Contact our tree care specialists if you are concerned about the health of your trees and shrubs or need a professional tree services.