Winter can be a difficult time for plant life. The brutal temperatures which hit most areas of the country can cause issues like breaking branches and general cold stress on trees, and the possibility of a winter drought is very real. Here are a few ways you can help protect your trees during the next hard winter.
Be Aware of Cold Stress/ Winter Injury
Cold stress can appear in a few forms, one of the most common being frost cracking/shacking caused by the rapid shift from daytime to nighttime temperatures during winter months. This shift stresses the bark and the interior of the tree, which can lead to cracking and desiccation of trunk stems branches and twigs..
Guard Against Winter Drought
When a tree loses more water than it can easily absorb from the ground, winter drought is occurring. This can be especially pronounced in the early spring when the ground is still dry but the rest of the tree is being warmed by the sun. Laying down a layer of organic mulch can help to act as a temperature and moisture buffer for the roots and slow down the loss over the moisture.
Good Pruning Saves Trees
Trees that are well-maintained in fall will be less susceptible to breaking branches and having their late-season growth killed off by early frosts. When temperatures dive/rise in short periods of time, a tree’s branches can become brittle and easily broken due to ice build-up or wind storms. Pruning any branches that may be easily broken this way before the winter sets in will help increase the chances of a tree surviving the winter unscathed. Likewise, any pruning should address structural imperfections, such as inclusions, bifurcations, competing and interfering limbs prior the fall.
For more information on how to help your trees survive the winter months, contact us at Advanced Tree and Shrub Care.