A Winter Tree Maintenance Checklist

January 3, 2019 8:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The winter season is here! You’re likely already bundled up in a warm hat, gloves and sturdy snow boots to stay warm during these chilly days. Unfortunately, you can’t outfit your tree in quite the same way. Snowstorms and frigid temperatures can seriously threaten the health of the sturdiest trees even during the dormant off-season. The ice, snow and cold weather can be stressful for the tree and cause permanent damage.

However, taking a few steps to protect your tree during the winter will ensure it will remain healthy and strong once the warm weather returns. Follow this checklist for winter tree maintenance in Newton, MA to help your trees avoid damage and foster healthy growth next spring:

  • Watering: Continue to regularly water the trees throughout the autumn until the ground freezes. Water insulates the roots against the cold. The roots swell with water, which protects the cells against damage from the cold.
  • Prune away: Pruning the trees is much easier during the winter season. It’s easy to see the structure and spot any problem branches when the tree is free of leaves. Proper pruning will enhance the beauty of the tree and reduce the likelihood of loss of limbs or other problems during winter storms. A professional pruning expert can help with this important aspect of tree maintenance in Newton, MA.
  • Mulch: Add a thin layer of mulch to the base of the tree in the early winter. This will help to insulate the soil and tree roots against the cold temperatures, in addition to slowing the rate of water loss.
  • Wrap the trunk: Wrap the trunk of the tree in a tree wrap or plastic guard to prevent sunscald. Sunscald occurs when the tree freezes in low nighttime temperatures before the warmth of the sun thaws it out during the day. Repeated sunscald will cause the trunk’s bark to crack and split.
  • Increase defenses against pests: Hungry critters love to snack on trees when other resources are sparse during the winter months. Wrap mesh wire along the base of your tree and bury the bottom at least two inches below the soil. This will stop rats, mice and other vermin from burrowing underneath the ground to gnaw on the roots. Avoid placing the wire too close to the tree, as it could damage the bark.
  • Protect weak branches: Wrap all the branches with a strong fabric and string to prevent snow and ice from causing them to snag. Heavy snow and ice can cause weaker branches to split apart and even tear off the tree. Remove the tie when spring returns for strong, healthy branches that are ready for warmer temperatures and new growth.

Following this checklist is the best way to protect your trees from the harsh effects of winter. It’s one of the best things you can do to guarantee a strong, healthy tree this spring. The professional arborists at BBD Tree Service can help you by providing expert winter tree maintenance in Newton, MA. Call us today to schedule a free estimate!

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