Ice, extremely low temperatures, and storms during the winter take a toll on trees across Canada. Even for tree species native to regions that suffer low temperatures, winter is always a stressful time. Isolated and exposed trees in residential areas also suffer this stress, but it can be avoided. While winter is a force of nature that no one has control over, you can prepare your trees and minimize the damage associated with this kind of weather. Here are tips to help you.
Solve Cold Stress Issues
One of the things that affect trees is the rapid change between the daytime heat and the freezing at night. These extreme temperature variations can result in stress within a tree between the inner wood and the bark causing frost cracks. A cracked area remains vulnerable to subsequent cracking and that can cause more damage to the tree.
In some cases, there is nothing you can do about this issue. However, for young trees and tropical trees such as palms, you can consider wrapping their barks. In addition to preventing winter damaging, wrapping the trees’ barks reduces moisture loss. You can also contact a reliable arborist in Toronto to help you handle tree cracking damage and other issues.
Avoid pruning your tree unless it has undergone the dormancy associated with fall. Pruning it earlier encourages new growth, and that heightens the risk of frost damage. You should also avoid fertilizers with a high content of quick-release Nitrogen.
Winter Drought Problems
During the winter, some trees lose more water than they can absorb from the freezing ground. This condition is known as winter drought and can be worsened by windy conditions. You can prevent or minimize instances of winter drought by creating a thick layer of organic mulch around the tree base before winter.
Tree Branch Breakage
During the winter, branches are more vulnerable to breakage. The wood becomes more brittle and prone to wind damage. Snow and ice accumulation affects evergreen and deciduous trees as well.
An effective way of minimizing branch breakage is excellent tree maintenance during the fall. It’s advisable to prune weak and vulnerable branches. You can also eliminate one side of a pair of branches sharing a ‘V’ crotch to make the entire tree less prone to branch breakage during winter.
During winter, rodents target trees in search of food. Mice and rabbits chew tree barks. Sometimes, squirrels can also be a problem. To prevent the damage caused by the little animals, leave some space between the tree bark and the mulch.
Other Ways of Preparing Your Trees for Winter Weather
Remember when you were a child you used to clean up before doing anything else, right? Preparing your yard and trees for winter weather works the same way. Before you begin strengthening your trees, it’s advisable to eliminate the dead ones.
Cut and collect all dead trees and broken branches from your yard. In case they are bulky, it’s wise to work with a reliable tree removal company. Another way of cleaning up your yard is by removing or replanting wayward seedlings that might have popped up too close to other plants or your house.
Probably you’re accustomed to droughts associated with the summer. But what do you do about the winter droughts? While ice and snow are hallmarks of winter, the season can just be as dry as the hot summers, and it’s wise to water your trees. However, this should be done during the fall and apply some mulch to preserve the available moisture.
Between the summer and the cold winter, the soil around your trees is likely to lose more nutrients. This is the reason autumn is the perfect season for the application of fertilizers. Experts recommend the use of slow-release fertilizers to help keep your trees healthy throughout winter.
Well, the last item in your fall tree maintenance checklist is planting. Did you know when everything else seems to be drying or dying it’s actually the best time to plant new trees? Note that cool late fall and winter weather stimulates perfect root growth in new plants.
On the surface, the tree might look like it is dying. However, its roots become strong and more prepared for the spring growth spurt. Fall is a great time to plant burlapped and baled trees. All bare root trees must wait until the end of winter.