We tend to make the assumption that our trees can take care of themselves. After all, they’ve lived outside for all this time – just as they do in the woods! They clearly manage just fine without human intervention, so why should you need to do anything to help keep your trees safe in the winter? Unfortunately, this point of view is a little short-sighted. Sure: trees are perfectly capable of surviving (and thriving) without human intervention! In fact, they often tend to prefer it! The problem is that the trees in your home don’t have that option. They have already been “intervened with” and there is no going back now.
How to Keep Your Trees Safe in the Winter
After all, your trees certainly didn’t choose to live in your front/back yard! They certainly didn’t choose to grow huge distances from other trees like them. And they didn’t ask for you to pave the ground around them. Nor did they ask to be pulled away from the natural habitat where they would encounter animals and insects that actually help to maintain them. In short: these are domesticated trees. Just like your dog wouldn’t survive a night in the woods, your trees are a little less hardy than their wild brethren!
And when winter descends, this can present some issues. So, what can you do to help out and keep your trees safe in the winter? Read on to find out!
One thing to consider doing prior to winter is pruning. When you prune, you are essentially removing branches and leaves that might otherwise get in the way.
Trees need light in order to thrive – even in the cold winter. When you have lots of leaves though and the tree is completely overgrown, then leaves can end up blocking one another. In other words, leaf A can’t get any light because leaf B is in its way. And this becomes even more of an issue if leaf A happens to be dead, and therefore the tree is now not getting any light!
That’s the idea of pruning: to ensure that a tree can absorb as much light as possible without blocking itself. When you do this prior to winter, you are setting it up to thrive during the harshest months and that can only ever be a good thing!
Trees need water, and while they might have access via babbling brooks in the local woods, there is likely no such source near you. Thus, when things get icy – or when you go for months on end without rain – your trees can get thirsty.
The most important role for water when it comes to your trees, is to help dilute nutrients so that they can be flushed around the trees body. You’ve heard of water-soluble vitamins, and this is essentially what that means! Without water, your tree cannot use the vitamins in the soil. So spray and water the trees in winter from time to time.
One nasty condition that trees can experience during the winter months is something called “sunscald.” This is like a sunburn for trees. However, unlike human sunburn, the issue is most pronounced during winter. That’s because it is actually caused by the sun repeatedly thawing frozen bark, which can cause cells to rupture.
To make sure this isn’t a problem for your trees, you should consider using a crepe paper tree wrap and wrap this around the bottom of the trunk. Overlap the layers and stop the wrap where you reach the lowest branches.
Finally, one of the very best things you can do for your plant is to use mulch. Mulch insulates the tree’s roots from the cold, while at the same time reducing the amount of ice that can freeze the soil. This in turn means that your tree will be less likely to be harmed directly by the cold, but also that it will continue to receive nutrients and water through the soil.
Mulch is extremely easy to use: just take a little and scatter it beneath the tree’s drip line. Don’t pile it up against the tree trunk however and don’t mulch until the ground freezes (as otherwise, you might find that mice start using the mulch as a place to live!).
Omaha Tree Services
At Omaha Tree, we recycle all of our wood waste material from the trees we trim and remove in the greater Omaha metro area. The wood waste material is brought back to our 8-acre site at 3606 McKinley Street, where it is processed into a beautiful & consistent mulch product that is local, fresh, and clean. Contact us today.