4 Final Things You Can Do To Prepare Your Trees For Winter

Whether you like it or not, winter is here and for many of us, it is here with a vengeance. With everyone from the Farmer’s Almanac to the local weathermen reporting that this winter will be a rough one for our area, you might be wondering what you can do to improve the likelihood that your plants and trees will make it through the winter months. If you recently planted a new tree, have fruit trees, or simply love your yard, it is certainly something that you want to think about in the next few weeks before it gets too bad.

While much of what you can do to help your trees is regular maintenance and care throughout the rest of the year, there are a few last minute things you can do to help your tree with winter.

4. Protect Potted Plants & Shrubs

  • Protect the entire plant
  • Think about the pot itself
  • Consider moving plants inside if you can

If you have some potted plants or shrubs that you like to keep on your porch or even around your garden, you may want to think about what to do with them. For some plants, it is enough to move them under shelter so that they don’t get hit directly with frost. Others can be covered with specialized bags and covers. However, some plants will not survive so you want to bring them into your home so that they can stay warm.

But you cannot just forget about your potted plants throughout the winter if you do leave them outside. Even plants that can stay outside are at risk. According to The Spruce, “Another thing to consider is that once the ground freezes under the container, water cannot escape the bottom of the pot. The container will thaw before the ground does and if you get a few rainy days, the water will stand in the pot, either rotting the roots or turning into an ice cube when the weather chills again. Avoid this by tilting the pots slightly.”

3. Think About Sunscalding

  • Professional tools can help prevent it
  • Winter sun is worse than summer sun
  • Young trees particularly susceptible

Trees, shrubs, and plants are all susceptible to getting sun scalded, or sunburnt during the winter months. If you see elongated, sunken, or cracked areas on any foliage, they have been hit with sunscalding.

If you have young greenery or trees, you have to protect them in the winter months – especially if you get a lot of snow. Pruning, topping, and transplanting also make a tree more susceptible to sunscald, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

To prevent sunscald, you can use commercial tree wrap to protect the trunk. This is almost exclusively available to tree care professionals. Each tree has a different amount of time that it can be safely wrapped, so you do have to do some research.

If your tree does get scalded by the sun, you can do a few things in the spring to help bring the tree back to life.

2. Water Trees, Plants, and Shrubs

  • Do before ground freezes
  • Check throughout winter
  • Water everything in your garden

Watering everything in your garden well before the ground freezes can help to ensure that your plants, shrubs, grass, and other greenery aren’t fighting over the scant amount of nutrients that do become available in the winter months. Don’t saturate the ground too much, but you should water a little bit more than you traditionally would.

If possible, starting to add a little bit of water a time will help your plants with storage so that they can have reserves of the water into the coldest, most bitter months of the season.

Throughout the winter months, continue to water your plants as often as you can. Once the ground freezes, you can add a layer of mulch and water, as the mulch won’t freeze up quite as quickly as the ground, according to Better Homes and Gardens.

1. Consider Salt Alternatives

  • Cat litter may be a choice
  • Protect the bottom of trees and shrubs near roads
  • Consider planting greenery that can withstand salt

Salt is a lifesaver in the winter months – it makes walking a little easier, driving safer, and can really eliminate ice and potentially dangerous situations. However, it is not the best thing for your trees, shrubbery, and other greenery. In fact, it can zap all of the nutrients and water out of the ground, making it harder for your trees to survive, according to Alberta Agriculture & Forestry.

Before the winter really starts, consider looking up salt alternatives for your property. There are plenty of them out there, from using essential oils to kitty litter. You may have to try a few different approaches to see which ones work the best for you. Another option is simply to move anything potted or protect the base of anything that cannot be moved. Salt will eat away at anything alive, and will eventually kill the plant. Each time you use salt, it gets a little bit deeper into the soil.

If you are in need of a go-to tree service contractor in the Richmond area, contact Ridgeline Tree Service today. We have a skilled team of skilled professionals that take tree care, most especially tree care around the winter months, extremely seriously and yearn for more people to take winter tree care more seriously.

Give us a call today at (804) 378-2900, and we can come to your home to conduct any maintenance called for before the season gets too bad or, in the event of an emergency situation, we can help you to clear up the circumstance as quickly as possible.

Header photo courtesy of Melissa Smith on Flickr.


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