How To Care For Trees In Winter

Garden Trees In The WinterWhether you are adding another row of fruit trees to your back yard for personal enjoyment, or simply looking to fill out your yard’s barren spots a little, trees can help accommodate your interests and provide you with lots of shade in the warmer seasons.

But as the weather turns colder in the fall, it is time to start considering how you are going to care for your newly planted developing trees through the winter months. Since younger trees lack the thick trunk and extended roots of a mature tree, this makes them more vulnerable to the elements, and often the victims of animals who want to gnaw on their base. The better you prepare your trees for the winter, the more likely it is that they will survive for years to come.

Watering Concerns

Before winter sets in, you will want to be sure to water your trees sufficiently through the fall season. During the winter, trees go dormant and the ground around their base and roots tends to freeze over. The only chance you may get to water them is if there is a warm spell in the winter months, but this is something you should not count on.

In addition, watering during the winter months can create ice near the roots and the base of the tree, which is generally not good for the tree. Hence, it is important for you to remove any irrigation bags before it gets too cold as well. If Ice or snow happens to form on the tree during winter, you can brush the snow off in an upward direction, being gentle not to harm the plant.

In the case of ice forming on the limbs or trunk, you can run warm water over the areas where the ice has formed, being careful not to use water that is too hot. Alternatively, you may be able to melt ice on a tree using a blow dryer, if you are trying to not damage the trees structure in delicate regions of the tree.

Mulching The Tree

When the ground has gotten cold and started to freeze over, it is time to add a couple inches of mulch below the drip line of your tree. Mulch helps to insulate and protect the root system through the colder months. If you put down mulch before the ground freezes, you run the risk of inviting mice, who will gladly turn your mulch into a home for bedding down during the winter. This is perhaps a problem you would rather not want to encourage, if you can help it.

Preventing Sun Scald

At night, your trees will tend to get cold and the sun will alternatively dry them out during the daytime hours, if your trees are in a place where they get regular sun exposure. This constant change in temperature, moving from wet to dry, can tend to rupture the cell walls of the tree’s bark, creating a condition termed sun scald. It may be necessary to wrap the tree trunk with a substance such as crepe-paper or to paint the trunk of the tree white, in order to prevent this damaging condition from occurring.

Preventing Animal Damage

From rodents to deer, there is always something lurking around outside ready to take a nip, gnaw, or rub against your defenseless tree. In order to protect the base of your tree from animal damage, it is necessary to wrap the tree in plastic up to the snow line, preventing gnaw marks from exposing the inner wood to the harsh elements.

A second layer of protection you may consider using is to surround the base of the tree with some type of wire caging to help keep larger animals away as well. With a little forethought, your trees should be able to survive the winter months, if you take a few precautionary measures to keep them well.

Dan Riggs has always loved landscaping and as a result, founded Scottsdale Tree Trimmers to pursue his passion doing Scottsdale tree trimming. Aside from tree trimming, Ryan also loves hiking and rock climbing at Camelback Mountain near Scottsdale.