Whilst it might look as if your trees sleep through the winter, exposure to low temperatures and icy winds can cause significant stress. You can minimise seasonal stresses by following these simple steps. If you take care of your trees in the winter, you'll be rewarded in the spring.
Three Steps to Success:
1. Give trees a drink. Drought is as much of a killer in winter as in summer. If temperatures permit, an occasional watering during the winter on young trees can be a life saver. Remember, be sure to water only when soil and trees are cool but not frozen. A thin layer of mulch will help water retention and also act like a blanket and give the tree's roots a little extra winter protection.
2. Prune your trees. For the majority of species, winter is the best time to prune as it is easier to see the structure of trees without their leaves. Unless you are an experienced arboriculturist, limit pruning to deadwood and poorly placed branches, thereby saving as much live structure as possible. As always, any use of ladders or steps introduces the risk of injury to you. Never climb a tree on your own; if you’re at all unsure of your safety, you probably shouldn’t be doing it! As experienced tree surgeons, J Hitchcock Tree Services Ltd can help.
3. Prevent / correct mechanical damage. Winter conditions can cause significant physical injury to your trees, whether through weight of snow, the freeze / thaw action of ice or winter gales. Whilst it is often impossible to protect trees against all these threats, it is possible to protect young trees to some extent by wrapping stems with burlap or cloth and ensuring they are properly staked. Remember that a hard frost can easily dislodge stakes or newly planted trees so remember to check your trees throughout the winter months. For mature trees, check for damage or distress after periods of very cold weather or strong winds; if you spot damage it is advisable to have it sorted as quickly as possible. Again, your local tree surgeon can help.