How to Protect Trees from Winter Damage

Trees and Shrubs
Protect Trees From Frost

There are many things you can do to protect your trees and shrubs from possible winter damage. Use fall months to prepare your plants for the winter and to ensure they are fully protected.

One of the first things you should do is to water trees and shrubs before the ground freezes. If summers are extremely dry trees and ornamentals located in areas without irrigation can suffer from drought stress. For this reason, it's advisable to water trees and shrubs before they go dormant during cold months. Watering will help the plants tolerate winter conditions better. This is particularly important when it comes to tolerating winter winds that can dry out these plants (especially their foliage) even further.

Fall months are also a good time to inspect your trees and shrubs to identify any present problems that may not be visible during summer. After leaves fall off it's easier to spot problems and damage on your trees. For example, you may notice rubbing or crossing branches. It's generally advisable to prune your plants if necessary before the new leaves appear in the spring.

Protecting Your Trees from Damage

There are a few effective tips you should use to reduce the most common winter injuries. Trees and shrubs often suffer from injuries caused by winter winds as well as snow and ice.

Protecting trees from winter winds: Homeowners should carefully identify all areas that are exposed to constant wind, especially in winter. If there are trees and shrubs located in those areas they can suffer from winter desiccation injury. To prevent this kind of damage to your plants, you should make some sort of a barrier to block the winter winds. It's important to erect them even before the first sign of cold winds. The barriers can be made of burlap as well as plastic or wooden snow fence. They will effectively block winter winds and prevent injury to your plants.

Protecting trees from snow and ice: There are certain areas around the house where snow can easily be accumulated during winter. Snow can accumulate by falling off the roof, snow blowing, snowplowing or by winds that make snow to drift in certain spots. These places will also have some accumulated ice. Snow and ice are very heavy so they can cause serious damage to your trees and shrubs. Sometimes, snow is so heavy it can tear branches off of young trees. For these reasons, it's important to install some sort of protection around the plants or over the top of them. Identify trees and shrubs located in dangerous area and protect them from snow and ice accumulation.

Use fall months to inspect your trees and shrubs and see if there is a problem that needs to be solved. See what kind of maintenance may be needed. After that, it's important to ensure the best protection for your trees and shrubs during winter months.

Photo credit: Lynette

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