Winter has set in. Although trees are dormant this time of year, they still require your care.
Here are a few simple rules of thumb to help you care for your trees this winter:
Watch those branches
If tree branches are close to your house, driveway, or sidewalks, err on the side of protecting your property. Heavy snow and ice accumulation can stress them, contributing to breakage. Consult with your tree service on pruning, cabling, or bracing these branches to prevent damage. In addition, avoid parking under or near branches that are heavily laden with snow or ice. Falling branches cause a lot of damage.
Winter can be the best time to prune because trees are dormant. As noted above, pruning can help reduce the chance that a winter snowstorm or ice storm will damage your tree. Pruning cuts should be left uncovered, and proper pruning cuts should be made just outside the branch collar.
Trees and branches can sag under the weight of winter’s snow and ice. While it’s tempting to shake off your trees or branches, resist doing so. You can damage your trees.
Remove stakes or ties
Stakes or ties can provide some stability for newly established trees, but these items should be removed in winter. Trees will establish more quickly and develop stronger trunk and root tissue without these aids.
Water until the ground freezes
Just because the warmest days of the year are behind us doesn’t mean you shouldn’t water your trees any longer. Fall can, in fact, be a dry season some years. Water your trees throughout the fall and early winter until the ground fully freezes. In our area, this can be as late as the end of December.
Newly planted or young trees that still have a small root mass especially need continued watering. And, when it comes to watering, go for low and slow so that you deliver the water directly down to the tree’s root zone. How often and how long you should water depends on tree species, soil type, and our weather conditions. You can check the soil and your tree’s foliage to determine if your tree is over- or under-watered, or you can consult one of our experts.
Watch the salt
Before the heavy snows and ice arrive, mulch around each tree with two to four inches of wood chips, bark, or other organic material. This mulch insulates against temperature extremes while also nourishing the soil and preserving moisture levels. Be sure to keep the mulch layer at least three inches away from the base of the tree trunk to allow the tree to properly breathe.
If you didn’t mulch before winter truly set in, remember that this should be part of your fall tree care going forward. Watch for trees that may be affected by road salt, like those on parkways or near driveways. This is where the plowed snow accumulates, and as it melts, the salt seeps into the soil and the tree’s root system.
You can protect these trees by moving some of the salted snow and distributing it more fully around your yard. You can also help these trees once winter is over by watering them thoroughly. Watering them helps to reduce the salt and lessen any damage.
Advanced Tree Care combines top-notch equipment, cutting-edge technology, and well-trained staff to provide emergency tree removal and tree maintenance services. With a presence in nine counties and two states, we work daily to provide unparalleled customer service, safety, and efficiency—as well as the expertise to beautify your landscaping and community. Advanced Tree Care isn’t just our name—it’s also our purpose!