How To Care For Your Trees in Winter
The storms, and ice along with the rapid temperature
fluctuations that are part of winter weather takes a toll on trees across
northern areas of North America, and this includes those species that are native
to colder regions – even for them this time of year is stressful. You have
little control over the climate, but there are things that you can do to reduce
the damage caused by winter stress.
Cold stress effects mature trees when there is rapid changes
in temperature between daytime heat and night time freezing. These temperature
variations can cause stress between the outer bark and inner wood leading to
cracks, which are called frost cracking or southwest injury. Usually there is
little that can be done to prevent frost cracking, and usually the tree can
At various times throughout the winter, drying out can become
a problem, especially for evergreens. Winter drought happens when a tree loses
more water than it is able to absorb from the frozen earth. You might be able
to control the drought by putting a thick layer of organic mulch down around
the tree’s base. Mulch can aid in slowing moisture loss while being a
temperature buffer for the roots.
Branch breakage is more likely during the winter. Ice and
snow accumulates, and affects all tree types. The key is to minimize branch
breakage lies through proper pruning in the fall.
When you are buying new trees, buy only those
species that are native to the hardiness of your area. Trees native that
are even one zone milder than your area can experience major stress during the
Apply a good fall fertilizer to promote root
Every year, do a post spring inspection of your
trees and immediately treat damage that you find.
Throughout the year, make sure you maintain good
tree upkeep. Trees that are strong and healthy will have an easier time than
those that are weak or damaged.
In preparing for winter, remember to prune your
trees after they are dormant.
Lay down a layer of mulch down around the base
of your trees to help to moderate fluctuations in temperature and moisture