Winter weather is coming and you’re not the only one that needs to bundle up.
It’s important to prepare your trees. If you don’t, then you may risk them breaking, falling, or just being a sore sight in your yard.
This being said, you’ll have to follow specific winter tree instructions to protect them from frost and keep them alive.
Pruning and laying down mulch is a good start. You should also take measures to keep animals away, continue to water them, and keep snow off the branches.
These are only a few small steps. Keep reading for a complete maintenance guide to keep your trees happy and healthy throughout the cold months.
1. Prune Trees
During the winter, the leaves fall from your tree allowing you to see their structure and problem branches.
It’s the perfect opportunity for you to prune them. Doing this will make them stronger against the winter weather to come.
Also, when your trees go dormant in the winter, so does any disease that’s inflicting the branches. Pruning will allow you to cut these diseases from the tree before they wake back up in the spring.
Check your trees for damaged, dying, or dead branches and get rid of them. If you don’t feel comfortable with pruning, then call the best tree service in your area to take care of this step for you.
2. Protect Them From Frost
Young and tropical trees are vulnerable to frosty nights.
You’ll need to protect them or they won’t make it through the winter. Most of the time you would bring the vulnerable plant inside but you can’t do that with a tree unless it’s a small one.
You’ll have to use a sheet or tarp to cover the trees that you can’t put in a pot and bring inside. It’s important that this coverage extends all the way to the ground if possible. This will keep the tree at least a little bit warm no matter how cold it gets.
Make sure that you keep the soil moist. Dry soil won’t absorb as much of the sun’s rays.
3. Use Mulch
Another way to help your trees stay warm in the winter is by applying mulch.
Mulch insulates the soil and the tree’s roots. You only need a thin layer of about two inches or so.
If you’re stumped about what type of mulch to get, wood chips work the best for trees. When you’re distributing it, make sure that you keep it in a donut shape around the tree. You don’t want to form a mulch volcano.
The reason why you want to stay away from the mulch volcano is that it needs to be a few inches away from the base of the tree. If the mulch right up against the tree then it will hold in moisture and cause it to rot.
4. Continue to Water Them
Even though it’s cold out and water freezes, your trees still need water or else they will die.
Besides, moist soil is warm soil and plant cells that are full of water are less vulnerable to freezing temperatures.
The trick to watering without freezing your tree is timing. Don’t water the plants if the temperature outside is below 40. Don’t water them if there are snow and ice on the ground.
The snow and ice will melt and water your tree for you anyway.
Also, give your tree water around midday. This will give it plenty of time to absorb the water into its roots before the temperatures drop down to freezing at night.
5. Keep Critters Away from Young Trees
Rabbits make a meal out of the bark of young trees.
This will expose the inner workings of the tree and leave it vulnerable to the winter weather. The good news is that there is a way to keep rabbits away from your young trees.
Wrap them up with plastic tree guards and leave them there until the spring. If you don’t have tree guards on hand you can also deter them by placing chicken wire around the tree.
6. The Problem with Rock Salt
During the winter you’re going to want to throw down rock salt so you can get out of your driveway and navigate through your yard.
This is fine unless you let it get to your trees.
Rock salt will stop your tree from being able to take in water and nutrients and it cuts them off from oxygen. Choose a snow melting method that involves calcium, magnesium chloride, or potassium instead.
7. Rid the Branches of Snow
If enough snow manages to gather on your tree branches then they will break.
Use upward movements to clear the branches off. If you use downward ones then you risk damaging the branches.
Icicles may also gather on the branches but don’t try and snap them off.
Instead, use a garden hose to melt the ice. Just make sure the water you’re using isn’t too hot or it will burn the plant.
Winter Tree Maintenance Steps to Keep Your Trees Happy and Healthy
Are you worried about your trees breaking and cracking during the cold months?
You’ll have to perform a certain amount of winter tree maintenance to keep them safe from harm.
Use these tips to get started and we promise your trees will be happy and healthy even in the harshest conditions.
Did this article help you keep your plants protected from the winter? Check out our blog daily for more ways to keep your yard looking great all year round.