Winter is one of the most difficult times of the year for a tree. While it might appear that they are just resting after losing all of their leaves, they are actually doing quite a bit of work. Beneath the surface of the bark and branches, the tree continues to grow and change, preparing for the spring bloom.
That means that there are some things that you absolutely need to do when you have trees and are preparing for winter – especially if it is going to be a bad winter. Of course, most trees should be just fine if you do not do anything to them – they are built for this. However, young trees, old trees, and trees that are not native to our area may need some support. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter if your trees are old or young, healthy or unhealthy, or even what type of trees you have – you need some support.
Here are some things you can do now to get ready:
Certain Trees Can Get Pruned During This Time
- Remove dead branches
- Clear away any branches that have been damaged
- Only certain types of trees can be pruned
Most people don’t know that certain types of trees can be pruned during the winter months. Most people think about other seasons when they want to get their trees pruned, but winter is the best month for certain types of trees.
Before you even consider it, you have to ensure that now is a good time for your tree. If it is, pruning can help to ensure that the spring bloom will be a good one. It can also help to ensure that the tree stays healthy during the winter months. If your tree was damaged during the winter months, you may want to consider pruning to help prevent diseases and infestations. You may also need to cover the wounds and help them to heal, according to Canopy.
Wrap Trees As Necessary
- Some trees do not respond to wrapping
- You may have to remove the wrap at some point
- The type of tree wraps matters
Sometimes, you may need to put a tree wrap on your tree to help it through the winter. Think of this as a coat for your tree to keep the heart of it warm. Wraps need to be installed by a professional or you can actually cause a breeding ground for diseases, fungi, and infestations.
According to BioAdvanced, ” When winter sun thaws a tree trunk by day and cold night air freezes it, bark cells can rupture, creating cracks in the trunk. This condition is called sunscald. To protect trees, cover trunks with crepe paper tree wrap. Working from the bottom, wrap the trunk, overlapping layers by one-third. Stop wrapping just above lowest branches. Remove the wrap in spring. You can also paint the tree trunk white or wrap it with a white plastic rabbit guard. Sunscald occurs most often on trees planted on west or south sides of buildings. “
Consider Cabling Or Bracing Trees
- Can prevent damage later on
- Helps to keep older, bigger trees standing
- May stop damage during icy seasons
If you have a tree that is older, cabling or bracing your tree branches may be a good idea for you. Sometimes trees need some help to prevent them from falling when ice accumulates or the wind is too strong. Doing this early in the season can be extremely helpful when people have trees that they haven’t been able to bring down just yet or those that are receiving treatment for some other diseases.
For newer trees, cabling or bracing the branches can help to ensure it survives the winter. Sometimes, trees aren’t strong enough to support themselves, so bracing ensures they will, according to The Care Of Trees.
At the same time, bracing and cabling can also create even more problems for a homeowner. Those who try to take bracing and cabling into their own hands may actually cause more damage than they prevented. Putting stress on the wrong part of the tree can be detrimental and actually cause it to die.
- Ice can compact soil
- Slow melting can evaporate before it reaches the tree
- Try to eliminate pooling water
Tree Help explains, “At times during the winter, particularly for evergreens, drying out can be a real problem. Winter drought occurs when a tree loses more water than it can absorb from frozen ground and is especially acute during the early spring when the ground remains frozen while the spring sun begins warming the rest of the tree. Windy conditions can also worsen the problem.”
To prevent drought, you want to lay down a thick layer of mulch. It will help to keep water where it needs to be and can prevent the type of freezing that creates a blockage for other rainstorms.
You can also break up ice on the ground, but do not try to break ice off of the tree itself. You may actually cause more damage. Instead, preventative measures can help. As mentioned above, a wrap could be extremely helpful here.
If you are a homeowner or a property owner, you absolutely have to take care of your trees during the winter months. This is when most people will have insurance claims for their trees, have emergencies, and need to have costly removals that can even impact their neighbors.
Your trees should be important to you. In fact, the trees in your yard may be nondescript, but that can have a huge impact on your life. If your trees are giving you trouble or you are just worried about their health, make sure to contact a tree care professional as soon as possible. At Arbortec Tree Service, we serve the greater Denver area. Give us a call at your earliest convenience at: (303) 466-3175. No matter what, we will treat your trees like they are the most important ones in the area – that’s a promise.
Header photo courtesy of Cristiana Bardeanu on Flickr!