The care of trees in winter does not start in winter but before, as trees need to be adequately prepared for winter. Why? Trees (most especially young, tender and subtropical trees) might experience winter injury or even death if exposed to a hard freeze for an extended period of time, months in this case.
6 Tree care Tips To Prepare Your Trees For Winter
- Stop watering your trees in late summer through early fall to force them to harden off before winter. Water once-weekly in mi-fall and all through the winter period to keep the roots moist and not wet.
- Spread a 6-inch layer of shredded bark mulch around the base of the tree, beginning about 3 inches out from the trunk and stretching to the drip line. Mulch retains moisture and insulates the roots which helps prevent frost heaving.
- Wrap the tree trunk and lower branches with a commercial tree wrap or light-colored fabric in fall to beshield the trunk from sun scald while isolating the tree. Wrap new trees for two years until it has grown a bark to protect itself depending on the plant species.
- Drive four wooden stakes about 18inches into the ground, positioned 4 – 6inches out of the tree. Wrap ¼ inch mesh hardware cloth or chicken wire fencing around the stakes, buried 3inches deep in the ground. Secure the fencing to the stakes with wire or zip ties.
- Drive wooden stakes at least 18inches deep into the ground, and secure or staple burlap fabric to the stakes to erect a screen to protect the tree from cold winds.
- Tie the main branches together on trees with multiple leader branches using strong fabric, nylon stockings or carpet strips. You can also wrap all of the branches with string to prevent heavy snow and ice from sagging the branches. Or alternatively wrap the tree with plastic mesh fencing.
The above tips help prepare your trees for winter and as such you have just a few things to do during winter.
- Melt: Keep rock salt away from trees, it interferes with the roots’ ability to absorb water, oxygen and nutrients. Choose ice melt products which contain potassium, calcium or magnesium chloride.
- Clear: Accumulated snow could weaken tree branches and break them. In removing snow, be sure to gently push it off the limbs in upward movements. Do not try breaking ice off branches. Use a garden house connected to a hot water faucet instead. However, be careful not to burn the tree.
- Prune: it is a great time to inspect and prune your trees as you get a perfect view of the tree structure and can tell which is diseased or otherwise. This is the dormancy period of disease organisms and as such you do not have to worry about disease spread during this season as you continue to prune.
- Spray: be sure to spray an anti-desiccant to reduce moisture loss as the winter sun and wind create drying conditions for broadleaf evergreens.
Just because your trees have gone dormant does not mean they don’t need as much care through the ‘non-growing’ season. Hence follow the 10 tips above and you’ll be just fine. Remember, your winter preparation checklist is never complete unless you contact us, Leinad Tree Service, to help deal with your trees and prepare them for a lovely winter. Need tree care in Jacksonville fl? We’re here to help!