Winter is stressful for trees, especially young and newly planted ones. Not only do they face the harshness of winter head on, but rodents intent on hibernation will burrow and irritate their root systems and other pesky critters might try to make your tree their next meal! The best way to help your trees through the winter is to set them up for success by providing them with proper nutrition and protection. As much as we would love to deck them out in scarves, boots and toques, here’s what you can actually do to help your trees make it safely through the winter!
First and foremost we know trees need water. Watering can still be done in early winter until the ground completely freezes. Once it’s too cold to continue watering, remove any irrigation bags or slow release watering mechanisms. Mulching is essential to help with moisture retention and insulation, but you can continue to mulch after freezing temperatures! In fact, mulching after the temperatures drop can prevent rodents from making winter homes in your tree’s insulation.
Voles, deer and rabbits might try to make a meal out of your tree and will eat their way through the outer layers to expose the inner wood. Young trees will have a difficult time surviving if too much of it’s precious inner wood is exposed to the bitter cold. To keep these pesky critters at bay, you can wrap your tree with a protective plastic tree guard beginning at the base of the trunk and working upwards. Make sure to cover above the snow line and remove the wrap once spring has made its debut.
While animals will take a bite out of your trees, the fluctuating cold will do the same! The heat of the sun during the day and the intense cold during the night can cause bark cells to fracture and can result in life threatening cracks in the tree’s bark. This is called sunscald and can be prevented with a crepe paper tree wrap. Wrapping from the bottom up, layer your crepe paper and continue upward until just passed the lowest boughs. This wrap should also be removed in the spring.
Give you trees a fighting chance this winter by taking care of them. While most of winter care happens before the snow flies, you can still do your part to protect your trees from the cold and hungry animals. If you want to find out more about tree care and what you can do, don’t hesitate to call our friendly technicians at 403-262-1666!