Our trees might be dormant right now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t work for us to do to take care of them! Here are some tips on winter tree care:
1. Winter Storm Damage
If a branch is badly snapped, it can be pruned off so that it heals quickly in the spring. If you haven’t taken our Neighborhood Forester class on pruning yet, reach out to us so we can help you prune safely! Trees younger than 18 months should ONLY be pruned when suffering damage.
2. Frost Crack
Closer to the end of winter, rapid warming and cooling of thin-barked trees can cause the bark to split (“frost crack”). Tree wrap is a gauze-like material that can be put on trunks to prevent frost crack. Tree wrap can also provide a habitat for pests, though, so we only recommend using it on trees that are high-risk, like young red maples with a lot of southern sun exposure.
Do your best to avoid piling snow around your trees when you shovel or plow your sidewalks, steps or parking lots. Salt from the hard surfaces will mix with the snow, and can cause soil problems or even chemical burns to trees and other plants when it’s concentrated in piles. Only use the recommended amount of de-icer to help lower the risk.
4. Winter decorations
We love them on our trees! If you added lights or ornaments this year, be sure to remove everything before the leaves come out in the spring. Even a tied string left behind on a branch can act as a tourniquet and will be dangerous for the tree over time. This is called “girdling” and can eventually kill any part of the tree it’s tied around.