Trees have natural techniques for surviving winter weather, such as losing their water-loving leaves in autumn. Fascinating biological changes also occur in order to prevent their individual cells from freezing. Even so, winter weather can take a brutal toll on the health and beauty of your most valuable landscape asset: trees.
The symptoms of winter damage vary widely, but if left unchecked trees can be left susceptible to disease-causing pathogens. It’s crucial to know what to look for and specific ways to help your trees recover from winter’s relentless three-month assault. Some of the most common include:
Winter breakage. This type of damage is the most obvious. Heavy snow and ice can weaken limbs, causing them to break under the stress. High winter winds whipping through leafless canopies can also cause damage. Even evergreens, such as Cryptomeria, Arborvitae, Hollies, Yews, Junipers, and others can suffer breakage from heavy snow collecting along the branches.
Treatment – Prune any broken branches all the way back to the main branch or trunk. This will help reinvigorate the robust health of your tree so as to maximize springtime renewal and growth. Make sure you use very sharp tools so as to avoid additional stress and injury to your tree. If your tree is very large, consider enlisting a professional arborist team to safely remove any broken and dead limbs from the highest areas.
Winter dryness or desiccation. A dearth of water in the soil caused by the freezing winds and dry air in winter can leave your trees perilously dehydrated. This applies to deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in autumn) as well as evergreens.
Treatment – Hydrate your tree well each week once spring begins and throughout the growing season. Remember, for mature trees, don’t water at or around the trunk. That’s okay for immature trees. But, for your large shade trees and mature evergreens, water at least three to four feet out from the trunk. If unsure, contact your local arborist. At Jarvis Tree Experts, we’re always eager to help.
Tree bark damage and frost cracks. A tree’s bark acts as a tough armor, shielding the tree from extreme weather stresses and pathogens. Sunscald causes the injuries to bark in winter. A relatively warm, sunny winter day, which then plummets to freezing temperatures at night, can create conditions where the inner layers of bark become injured. These injuries show up in the form of a discolored, sunken area in the bark.
Frost cracks can also occur due to fluctuating temperatures in winter. When temperatures fluctuate repeatedly, the trunk’s inner layers expand and shrink with the fluctuations. This repeated tension eventually results in cracks.
While neither of these typically kills a tree, unless it’s very immature, they do weaken its ability to withstand things like diseases or insect infestations.
Treatment – Call us for an inspection! It is best to have professional treatment for any wounds of this type.
Salt-damaged soil. The salt spread on roadways during winter can seep into your garden soil. When too much salt incorporates itself into the soil around trees and plants, it undermines vital soil minerals and degrades the soil’s structure. This can damage roots and negatively impact your tree’s health and growth.
Treatment – Soak the soil with water prior to seeing the buds forming in spring. It will take about six inches of water to dilute and rinse away salt build-up. When it dries, apply an organic matter compost or shredded plant matter (like dead leaves) to augment the soil quality.
If unsure about how to treat your trees for winter damage, consider calling an experienced team of arborists, such as Jarvis Tree Experts. We will conduct a thorough inspection and create an individual plan, based on our professional assessment, to speed up the recovery of your magnificent trees.
Originally posted 2022-12-26 11:35:32.