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How to Care for Trees in Winter

While trees are inactive during the cold season, they are not immune to the harsh weather and hibernating animals that love to dig holes in tight spots. They are not excused to the intensity of the winter cold and experience its full impact. Chilly weather can take its toll on trees, particularly young or newly planted ones that don’t fully develop defense mechanisms to protect them from wintry conditions. Help your tree survive the winter season by learning to protect them from the effects of the cold. 

Mulch

In early winter, add no more than two inches of mulch around the tree’s drip line. Mulching will assist in insulating the ground and tree roots from the extreme cold and delays water loss from the soil. Be careful not to make a mountain of mulch against the trunk. Don’t mulch until the ground is frozen if you don’t want mice to make it their winter refuge. 

Water

Using proper watering techniques is essential in every season, especially in winter. Give extra attention to the newly planted trees and make sure to water them thoroughly just until the ground is freezing. Get rid of any irrigation bags around the trunk before the temperature drops. 

Spray

The wind and winter sun is a deadly combination that causes drying conditions for Mountain Laurel, Pieris, and other evergreens. To prevent its adverse effect, spray the trees’ leaves with an anti-desiccant to cover the leaves and prevent loss of moisture. 

Wrap

Sunscald is a condition when the bark cells rupture from the thaw-freeze cycle that winter sun and cold night air brings. To help your tree weather this condition, cover its trunks with tree wrap. Work your way from the top going to the area just above the lowest branch. Do not forget to discard the wrap when spring starts. Painting the trunk with white or putting a plastic rabbit guard can also help prevent sunscalding. 

Protect

The intense weather is not the only thing you should concern yourself with in winter. Rabbits and other animals love to munch on a young tree’s bark. They can expose the inner wood of the tree by gnawing on the outer bark. If the damage affects half of the trunk, the tree will most likely die. Protect tree trunks from rodents by wrapping them with plastic tree guards. You can also fence the trunks with chicken wire to protect them from deer. Remove the wrap in springtime. 

Melt

Use products that contain calcium, magnesium chloride, or potassium to melt the ice around your trees. Steer clear from sodium chloride or rock salt as it can impede tree root’s ability to absorb nutrients from the ground. 

Clear

Branches can collect snow and cause them to break due to the weight. Remove snow by using gentle upward movements. Use a garden hose attached to a hot water faucet to break ice from the branches. Do it carefully to avoid burning the plant. 

Prune

There is no better time to inspect and prune trees than in winter. Trees are free from leaves, so you can quickly locate problem branches and eliminate them. Winter pruning can prevent diseases because the organisms that cause them are also in an inactive state. If you are uncertain of how to prune your tree, it is wise to get in touch with your local tree company for professional assistance. 

Contact Orchard Tree Service, 333 Koons Ave, Buffalo, NY 14211, (716) 220-7443 for more information about winter tree care service.  

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