Young trees are especially prone to freezing over the course of winter. They have not yet built up a hardy layer of bark or deep root system. How can you care for young trees and protect them from freezing in winter?
Here are a few tips you can use to help your trees survive the winter:
Insulate the roots. If the ground freezes, the root system will freeze, which could kill the tree. Mature trees drop their leaves to create a winter blanket. You can provide the same service by layering 2 inches of mulch around the tree base. Do not place mulch until the temperatures have consistently fallen below freezing.
Snow & Ice Removal. In winter weather, lightly brush (in an upward direction) accumulated snow from the branches. Let ice melt naturally or you’ll risk damaging stems and branches.
Water on Warm Days. Don’t Water on Cold Days. When temperatures are below freezing, don’t water the tree. It could freeze up into a block around the roots. However, when there are extended periods days with temperatures above freezing, give the trees a fresh drink of water to support it.
Protection from Varmints. If you see any chew marks on the tree, it could be rabbits, rodents, or deer eating the bark. Loss of bark exposes the inner part of the tree, and too much damage can kill the tree. You can protect the bark with tree guards, chicken wire, PVC pipe, or flexible hose.
Check Your Salt. You may need to spread salt on your driveway and sidewalks this winter. Rock salt is harmful to the tree as it prevents root absorption. Instead choose a salt that is safe for plants and trees.
Additional guidance for tree planting to improve survival rates in winter:
- Try to plant trees earlier in the year (spring time) verses later in the year. That will allow the tree to mature longer before encountering harsh weather conditions.
- Use a container for any plants that are vulnerable to cold weather. Then you can bring them inside for the winter.
- Container plants will freeze faster than in-ground plants. The container is above the ground level and more exposed to the cold air temperatures than the warmer ground around it. So don’t wait too long to bring them in.
- If a container plant cannot be moved inside, you can wrap the container with burlap to help keep it warmer. It won’t help if the temperatures are extraordinarily low, but it can make a few degrees difference.
At Manor Tree Service, we understand the importance of trimming and removing trees when they’re not longer viable or become unsafe. But we also care about replacing those trees successfully with strong, hardy varieties.
If we can answer any questions you have about caring for your current trees or where, when, and how to plant new trees around your home – call us! We will come to your property, provide a free trees assessment, recommendations and answer tree questions.