Many people consider the effects of winter on their smaller garden plants but neglect to consider their trees. While it is true that native trees are well equipped to handle the weather, non-natives are not. Native trees planted in unnatural areas or unnatural ways may also be susceptible to the elements and need some help getting through the winter.
Smooth-barked trees are susceptible to something called “frost cracks”. These occur when there is a sudden change in temperature such as the change from sunlight to dark during the winter. Wrapping your trees shades the bark from exposure to the sun which keeps them from heating up and experiencing a sudden temperature shift.
Another type of tree wrap that may be necessary depending on your situation and type of tree is wire mesh. This protects against rabbits and other small animals making a meal out of the trunk of your tree. Trees that are severely damaged in this way usually die, so using wire mesh to protect them is a good idea if you have problems with rabbits or other tree-eaters in the area.
On a similar note to wire tree wrap, mulching properly around your trees will help prevent them from being eaten by the local wildlife. Small rodents and rabbits will make their homes in mulch if possible, so pull it away from the trunk of the tree a little. It should make a donut shape, not a volcano shape, experts say.
Evergreens can have problems if they go into the winter with their water reserves low. When the ground freezes they cannot get enough water from it to replace that which is drawn out of their needles or leaves into the air. To help your trees avoid this problem, give your evergreens a good watering during the fall to make sure their reserves are as high as possible.
Water is drawn from the leaves of evergreens because of the wind and sun during the winter. Burlap sacks are sometimes used as protection against these elements and provide shade and a windbreak. There are also compounds on the market that can be sprayed onto trees to reduce their water loss but they should be used after consultation with a tree expert.
Fertilizing your trees is a good way to encourage healthy spring growth but it must be done at the correct time. Fertilizing with nitrogen-heavy products in August or September can cause a tree to put out a burst of growth immediately before the winter hits which is bad for it. Fertilizing in October or November on the other hand, will provide nutrients for the tree to use during the next spring’s growth period.
This one you can’t do yourself but it’s still easy. Give Rick’s Tree Service a call and have them come out and inspect your trees for damage. Removing damaged areas helps ensure that they don’t come crashing down on your home, your car, or a person when a winter storm hits. Rick’s provides full-service hazard assessments, tree trimming and full-tree removal when necessary.