Winter can provide a harsh environment for trees. As temperatures drop and water turns to ice trees begin to enter a dormant state. Snow fall can add extra weight to the branches.
In reality it’s not likely that your trees will freeze to death and the extra weight on the branches from snow shouldn’t be too much of a problem as your trees will have shed their leaves for winter anyway.
There are some tree care steps that you can take to ensure your trees aren’t just able to survive during winter but have the opportunity to thrive. Whilst the winter presents some challenges for tree care and for tree services professionals it also offers some significant opportunities.
Winter Tree Pruning
The winter is a great time for pruning your trees or hiring someone to carry out some tree maintenance on your behalf. As the leaves have been shed by winter it’s actually a lot easier to see the structure of the tree in order to work out the best way to prune a tree.
Pruning in the winter also puts less stress on your trees. If you trim back some branches in winter it doesn’t cause new growth on the tree. Instead it actually gives the tree the best opportunity to heal before warmer weather comes bringing with it pests and disease.
And, as these insects and diseases aren’t active in the winter the risk of these spreading during the pruning of your trees is much lower.
Tree wrapping is a practice that can really help support some of your trees through a tough winter. This is advised for very young trees or for species of tree with thin bark. This helps to prevent the tree from drying out and the bark cracking.
Be careful with the material used to wrap your trees. You don’t want materials that are likely to absorb a lot of heat from the sun, this could be harmful. Go for light coloured fabric or tree wrap made specifically for the job.
Proper mulching can be a godsend for tree in the winter. Unfortunately mulching is often done incorrectly which can actually be quite harmful.
It is important that the mulch should be in a circle or a donut shape around the tree with a few inches distance from the base of the tree. This will help the tree retain moisture and some warmth.
Piling mulch at the bottom of a tree can lead to decay and that’s the last thing you want!
Beware of Rodents
Whilst most pests can be avoided during the winter instances of rodents actually increase. This is because food is scarce and they often resort to chewing bark.
This isn’t only mice we’re talking about but rabbits and squirrels too.
You may have to set bait if this becomes a problem.
If in Doubt, Call a Professional
If it seems that one of your beloved trees is struggling during a cold spell then call an arborist in to help evaluate the health of your tree. A highly trained technician should be able to diagnose any issues and if there is an issue provide you with an action plan to restore the health of your tree.