As the spring stretched into summer, you labored away with your lawn—creating the perfect landscape for your home. You tended your shrubs with painstaking care and watched as your trees both grew up and continued to mature.
As the days begin to shorten and temperatures drop, a worry amongst gardeners and landscapers like you hangs in the air…winter is coming.
The cold winter months can be hard on trees, especially trees of less hardy stock. Though winter will run its course, you don’t have to standby defenseless! Join Wildcat Creek Tree Service, a tree service in Lafayette, Indiana with years of experience, as we detail how to keep your trees safe this winter season!
#1 Beware of Winter Sunscald
During the cold winter months, young and thin-barked trees like Cherry trees and Maples are susceptible to sunscald damage.
Sunscald occurs when living cells just underneath the outer bark of a tree experience rapid temperature fluctuations due to strong winter sunlight, quickly followed by a decrease in temperatures due to cloud coverage or the quick onset of dusk. You can determine if your tree has sunscald damage by looking for telltale signs like cracked bark, discolored bark, dead tree tissue, or the sloughing off of healthy bark.
Sunscald damage may cause significant stress for a tree as well as place it in danger of insect invasions and disease.
How to Prevent Sunscald
To help prevent sunscald damage, there are a number of things you can do. Wrap the trunk and lower tree limbs in a white tree wrap. The white helps reflect the sun rays and keeps the cells in a tree at an appropriate temperature.
If possible, try planting trees on your property to the North and East. The strongest sun rays tend to come from the South and West and can inflict considerable damage onto a tree.
#2 Your Tree Could Be a Feast
During the winter, food sources for animals like deer, rabbit, and mice become scarce—leaving your tree as the perfect winter snack. Animals will feed on a tree’s leaves, bark, twigs, and stems, which can leave your tree susceptible to disease and pest invasion.
Keep the Critters at Bay
In order to stop pests from feasting on your trees, physical barriers should be erected. For young trees, plastic fences should be placed around the entire tree.
To further discourage animals, their nesting areas should be reduced. During the fall, any vegetation around your trees should be trimmed within two feet. This prevents animals from taking shelter close to a convenient food source—your tree.
#3 Protect the Roots
The health of an entire tree depends on its roots. When roots become too cold (around 0 to 10 degrees) they can die, leaving the tree without a way to collect water or nutrients. In order to protect the roots from the cold, various precautions can be taken.
Keep your plants well-watered in the fall. Wet soil can hold heat better than dry soil, which further protects your tree from harsh temperatures. Additionally, the roots of young and newly planted trees need an extra layer of protection. This protection can be accomplished by laying down three to four inches of mulch about six inches away from the base of a tree in a circle formation.
#4 Too Salty
Cut the Salt
Spraying the roads with salt may be inevitable, but there are steps you can take to prevent tree damage.
If your yard is close to the street or runoff buildups, avoid planting trees there. If you do plant trees, choose a breed that is more resistant to salt, like White Oak or Jack Pine. For younger trees close to salt spray, cover them with a burlap sack to prevent excessive salt damage.
More Than Just a Plant
Not only do plants add character and shade to our homes, we tend to look after them like they are one of our own—family members. To protect your tree this winter, start with good practices in the spring and summer, which is something that a tree service in Lafayette, Indiana can provide.For more questions regarding tree care in the winter or how you can get an early leap on protecting your plants, visit Wildcat Creek Tree Service, or call us at (765) 404-0938.