You don’t have to be a tree doctor or a professional to keep your trees safe during winter. But there are several factors to consider when preparing your garden for the cold season.
Below are a few tips for protecting your trees from various winter dangers this year.
Snow and Ice
Heavy snow and ice storms can cause branches to bend and break under the weight of snow and wind.
Some ways to keep branches strong include:
- Wrapping small branches together with a strong cloth two-thirds of the way above the weak point.
- Prune and remove weak branches.
- Have a tree doctor or arborist tie together the main branches of large multi-stemmed trees.
Roots can develop injuries in winter because they don’t become dormant as quickly as the branches, buds, and stems. Keeping the soil temperatures high and moist before the ground freezes is essential in protecting trees from injury.
The best ways to reduce root injury in winter are to:
- Cover the new and exposed roots with about 3-4 inches of shredded mulch. Ensure the mulch is spread about 6 inches away from the trunk to prevent the roots from forming together.
- Water the plants heavily before the ground freezes to prevent frost penetration.
- Cover cracks near new plantings with soil.
Animals like mice, rabbits, and deer can damage trees as they scavenge for food and try to escape the cold temperatures.
The best strategies for protecting trees from animal damage include:
- Reduce nesting habitat by cutting grasses and minimizing protective covering.
- Use physical barriers to keep animals away.
- Spray repellents. They are not poisonous, and only one application should last the season.
Making it to Spring
Before the temperatures drop, have a plan for protecting trees from cold, animals, and severe weather. And when you’re unsure which of these would be best for your garden, call in a tree doctor for extra insight.