In winter, trees still grow, only at a slower rate.
They still need nourishment and some protections based on their age and weather conditions.
Here are six things to consider when preparing your trees for winter.
- Remove and visible dead limbs and prune back low hanging branches so that they do not load up with potential snow or ice up from freezing rain. These conditions will potentially cause the limbs to break and depending upon the weight, possibly have the root system pull out of the ground.
- Remove the sucker branches which are the small shuts that appear on established branches and the trunk. Eventually these sucker branches become larger tree branches that distort the tree over time and possibly create an imbalance.
- Stop fertilizing the tree approximately 6 weeks before the 1st frost. Forcing the tree to grow in winter when the growth process slows down could compromise the tree especially when snow and ice might be in the forecast. The new growth could be compromised and there may not be enough water for the tree at this time.
- Any newly planted young trees should be wrapped with flexible tree wrap to protect the thin back that has not had time to become developed enough to create a thicker bark to protect against animals chewing and rubbing against the tree and from the environment.
- Mulching around the tree assists in retaining water and reduce temperature extremes. Remember not to add more than a 3” base of mulch. More than that amount may begin to smother the tree feeder root system.