Trees and shrubs have life cycles through seasons, where they need to get a certain amount of nutrition and rest to grow well.
When it comes to the winter season, most trees experience what is called a dormancy period. In simple words, it’s a time for rest or “sleep” for trees. The amount and quality of sleep they get is crucial to their health and productivity.
With winter fast approaching, you’ve probably started planning for yard winterization. After all, preparing for winter is an important part of keeping your trees in good shape.
As an experienced tree removal company in Utah, we’re well aware of the challenges involved. But don’t fret, we’re here to help you understand how you can winter-proof your foliage to help it make the most of the dormancy period.
But before learning about preparing for winter, let us acquaint you with the common challenges that trees face in the cold season.
- The winter sun can be harsh on trees. When coupled with dry wind, it can drain your foliage of moisture, drying it out completely in the frosty weather.
- The winter sun can also heat up the bark of the trees, which can freeze later and develop cracks when the chill sets back post sunset.
- An early cold spell can damage plant tissues that haven’t hardened off enough to be able to withstand the chill.
- Midwinter thawing can mislead your foliage into breaking dormancy earlier than it should. Delicate new plants can be damaged by the consequent cold snap.
- Sporadic freezing-and-thawing can move new plants out of the ground, leaving the roots exposed to the harsh sun and the dry winds.
- Freezing of the soil can make it nearly impossible for plants to absorb water to replace the moisture lost due to transpiration and evaporation.
- Pests, rodents, and animals can gnaw at the tree bark and damage twigs and leaves, especially since other sources of food become scarce during winters.
Steps to Follow To Keep Your Trees Healthy
Now that you know about the potential challenges your trees can face during the cold season, let’s take a look at the steps to take for preparing for winter.
1. Aerate and Fertilize
Ask any tree removal company in Utah worth their salt, and they’ll tell you that a solid winterization strategy starts from the ground up. We agree, which is why we recommend carefully loosening the compacted soil. This will help improve its capacity for drainage as the snow starts to gather around it. In turn, the roots of your trees will be spared any kind of suffocation.
After that, you want to fertilize your soil so your trees can get adequate and proper nutrition. Make sure you use the right kind of fertilizer that can meet your trees’ needs. If you’ve just planted it, for instance, avoid fertilizers that have a high nitrogen component as they can have a negative effect. It’s a good idea to consult a tree services company to understand what type of soil will suit your trees.
2. Insulation Is Key
Once you’re done with the aerating and fertilizing, consider blanketing the soil for the winter. This process is known as insulation, and it essentially helps shield your trees’ roots from the cold and dry weather.
To make this work, spread a three-to-four inch of mulch over the ground as far as the tree’s branches go. You can also use wood chips for this. Adding this layer helps create a warm and comfortable winter blanket over the soil, while also preventing weed growth.
Do ensure that the mulch doesn’t touch the tree trunk itself or collect around the trunk. Keep the layer even and close to the soil. Your local tree services company can help you get this right.
3. Pruning Is a Must
When preparing for winter, you’ll need to ensure timely and proper tree trimming, preferably before midsummer. As such, you’ll want to prune damaged and dead branches that could harm your trees in the cold weather.
Make sure to remove any dead or rotting branches from your trees. If not removed, they can become a potential source of food or habitat for pests and rodents.
Then, trim the branches that are likely to bend under the heavy snow and touch the ground. There’s a good chance that these branches might pick up moisture rot and associated diseases.
Be careful when trimming trees to preserve and protect healthy branches. If you must cut them, use a sharp and clean pair of shears. Clip the branch above the underneath the branch collar (the part where the branch joins the tree trunk) instead of removing it with one blow.
4. Provide Sufficient Water
In Utah, regularly watering plants and trees is a habit among most people with a yard. And why not? Your trees do need to stay hydrated to absorb nutrients from the soil and keep their roots healthy.
When winter sets in, it becomes extremely difficult for trees to get the water they need from the soil. This is where watering them thoroughly before the first hard freeze can pay off. Doing so will allow them to store the water for hydrating later on.
Newly planted trees, in particular, need more water to survive the winter. Experts recommend following the 5+5 rule for winterizing them. This means providing 5 gallons of water (as the base limit) plus another 5 gallons for every diameter inch of a tree trunk. A proven tree services provider can help by shedding more light on this technique.
5. Wrap for Protection
Another great way of preparing for winter is by wrapping them in burlap before the first snow. This simple step will keep them protected from animals, and a range of nasty ailments, including the notorious “winter burn.”
Winter burn refers to the patches of dry, brittle, and brown needs on the sides of your trees. It usually occurs when trees get lots of sunlight, but not enough moisture from the ground to keep things balanced. Newly planted trees are highly susceptible to winter scalding, which damages the areas of the trunk that are exposed to the cold temperature.
As one of the preferred tree services companies in Utah, we recommend wrapping the trunks of trees to protect the needles from snow, ice, wind, and the sun. If wrapping it doesn’t work, consider building a burlap screen or plastic/paper/wire tree guards around your tree or plant to protect them from strong winter winds and animals.
Hire Our Tree Services to Prepare Your Yard for the Winter
It’s no secret that trees and plants are highly susceptible to harsh seasonal elements. Your trees work hard all summer, so it’s important to winterize them before the chill sets in so they’re ready to take on the impending challenges coming their way.
Taking the above-mentioned steps should help you protect your soil from harsh winter conditions while replenishing the nutrients your foliage will need next season. Do follow them or consult your local tree services provider about keeping your trees healthy throughout the cold season.
Our team at Utah Tree Co. is committed to taking care of all your tree care and landscaping needs, including winterizing your yard. Call our tree service company at (801) 386-2405 or use this online form to get in touch.
To enjoy a quick read, check out our short and interesting web story on winterizing tips to keep your trees healthy.