Are your trees prepared for winter? While many trees hibernate in winter, that doesn't necessarily mean they are safe from danger. In fact, several tree problems tend to crop up specifically in winter, so it's important to be prepared. Here are the top problems we see and what you need to do about them.
We know it's stating the obvious, but snow can be heavy! When it comes to more delicate trees like ornamentals, an unexpected snowfall can be particularly dangerous — and ice is often worse because it can freeze to the branches and create even more weight than snow. Take time to weed out any unhealthy or overhanging branches to help prevent this problem.
There's a secondary problem that ice brings as well — Many people use salt or other chemicals to keep their sidewalks free of ice in the winter if it looks like temperatures are going to sink. Unfortunately, these chemicals can run off into the ground and poison nearby plants (even salt is bad for your soil), so it's important to be particularly careful.
Yes, some animals are still active before and during winter, and they can do a surprising amount of damage to your trees. There are many species of mice, rabbits and even larger rodents that stay active through much of winter, and guess what they eat? Bark. They tend to strip the bark from around the base of trees where they can reach. Not only can this kill your trees outright, but it exposes the wood to dangerous insects and other problems, so it's important to ward away those hungry creatures and clean up your yard so they aren't as attracted to it.
Winter drought occurs in cold areas that see relatively little precipitation, or precipitation that ultimately trees can't use. Remember, Antarctica counts as a desert! And some backyards can get close in winter because there's just not enough usable moisture around. It may be important to carefully water your trees in winter with underground irrigation or another type of trickle-watering that avoids potential ice build-up.
The Dreaded "Winter Burn"
Winter burn occurs even if there is no snow or ice. It can hit very suddenly, and often happens in the early morning. When the temperature suddenly drops, the air turns very cold and can "burn" foliage (typically on evergreens, but sometimes on other trees that haven't lost their leaves yet). This occurs because of a combination of the cold and the sunlight draws out the moisture and dries up the plant until it dies. This can kill needles, leaves, buds and more. It's hard to protect against, but you can use burlap wrap in severe cases for protecting young trees.
Do you need help with your landscaping? Call us at Meyers Green Services to schedule your upcoming lawn care for the spring! Let us know or ask for your free quote!