As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, those of us who are landscape-minded begin to shift our focus to preparing our beloved trees for the harsh Calgary winter ahead. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or new to tree care, and whether you’re looking after fruit-bearing trees such as apple or fig trees, other deciduous trees, or evergreens, taking proactive steps in the fall will be very beneficial in ensuring your trees live comfortably during the winter months, and are prepared to thrive once spring hits. During the autumn months, trees enter a process called cold acclimation. During this process, they activate certain biological mechanisms that will allow them to withstand the extreme cold that is to come. However, there is nothing wrong with giving your trees a helping hand and improving their health and longevity over time. In this comprehensive guide to preparing your trees for winter, we’ll explore a range of strategies and tips to protect your trees from winter’s icy grip.
Watering Your Trees
One of the primary threats to trees in winter is dehydration. In a climate like Calgary, which is very sunny while simultaneously very dry, winter tree dehydration is a real concern. Proper watering in the months leading up to winter is essential, as water not only acts as an insulator against cold damage but also helps maintain soil moisture, keeping your trees healthy and resilient. For those wondering how to prepare young trees for winter, this practice is especially important, as their root systems may not be fully established.
Pruning for Strength and Safety
Branch pruning is already an essential element of tree care, no matter the time of year. It is especially important, however, in the time leading up to winter. Removing dead or dying branches before the snow falls will not only enhance your trees’ strength and health but will also prevent heavy snow from causing premature tree damage. Preparing your trees for winter by pruning them will ensure less stress all around.
Fertilizing for Winter Survival
A well-balanced fertilizer blend is vital in the plight of sustaining your trees throughout the winter. Proper fertilization not only keeps the soil surrounding your trees moist but also provides essential nutrients for your trees’ well-being. Fertilizing in the autumn helps prevent winter damage and keeps pests at bay, ensuring your trees are well prepared for the coming cold (Click here to learn how to protect your trees during warm winters).
Mulching for Soil Health
Adding mulch around your trees offers significant benefits during the winter months. Mulch, similar to fertilizer, helps retain soil moisture while adding the benefits of moderating temperature extremes, and protecting the root system. Waiting until the ground has frozen solid before applying mulch will help prevent rodents from nesting in the area around your trees. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to maintain a 6-inch gap between the tree trunk and the mulch to prevent fungus growth.
Preparing your trees for winter is a crucial aspect of tree care that ensures their longevity and health. By following these tips, you can protect your trees from winter’s unforgiving conditions, and look forward to them flourishing in the spring. While trees are naturally adapted to survive in the winter, a little care from their human caretaker can lead them to thrive.