How To Care For Trees in Winter

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How To Care For Trees in Winter

That crisp, chill in the air can only mean one thing: winter is finally here. As we all know, Texas winters can bring us warmer sunny days alongside icy cold mornings, and these fluctuations can wreak havoc on our trees. So as we prepare for an abnormally cold, wet winter, here are a few basic tips to keep your trees healthy well into 2016.


Now is the perfect time to add a thin layer (no more than 2 inches) of organic mulch below your tree’s drip line. Adding extra mulch will help insulate the soil, protect your tree’s roots from extreme temperatures and prevent water loss from your soil – all while providing rich nutrients to the soil around your tree. Leave a few inches between the mulch and the trunk so burrowing rodents won’t be tempted to chew on the tree bark.


Drought doesn’t only happen in the summer. Harsh winter cold and drying winds can often leave your trees thirsty for a drink, which can lead to dehydration and dead branches. Once the ground freezes your tree’s roots will no longer be able to absorb moisture, so it’s important to keep watering your trees up until the first freeze of the season. This will help your trees absorb enough water to last through the winter and prevent your trees from dying or drying out.


Tree branches are more vulnerable to breakage during the winter, so it’s best to keep up tree maintenance during these colder months. Though it may not seem like it, winter is actually one of the best times for pruning because it is easier to see your tree structure without any leaves. Plus, pruning during dormancy can help prevent the spread of disease because most disease-carrying organisms are also dormant during this time. Once the leaves fall, thoroughly inspect your trees to identify any problem branches. Remove any deadwood or poorly placed branches while trying to save as many living branches as possible.


Sunny days and bitter cold winter nights can cause the outer cells of your tree trunk to freeze and rupture, which can result in cracking and splitting bark (also known as sunscald). Wrap your trees with plastic or burlap to provide an extra layer of protection against dramatic temperature changes and hungry critters. Just don’t forget to remove the wrapping in the spring to give your tree room to grow.


Once the ground freezes the circulation of water in a tree begins to slow down, causing the tree to gradually lose its moisture to the atmosphere. Evergreens are particularly susceptible since they hold onto their leaves during the winter. To prevent your trees from losing too much moisture, spray them with an antidessicant. This waxy coating covers the pores on the leaves to seal moisture in. One application in late fall and another in early February should be enough to protect your plants from a winter’s worth of cold temperatures and drying winds.

Need help getting your trees ready for winter? Contact Perfect Properties to schedule an appointment for our winter tree services.

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