Don't Let Stress Affect Your Trees This Winter

Don't Let Stress Affect Your Trees This Winter

Northern regions of the U.S., as well as some parts of Canada, experienced some serious winter weather following the arrival of Winter Storm Astro. While record-breaking snow accumulation, extreme temperature decreases and high winds affected several cities in the north, even states as far south as Nevada and Texas felt the wrath.

It’s time for some of us to admit that winter weather is inevitably here to stay for a while. Now, imagine how you would feel if you spent all season outdoors as your trees do. With that in mind, know how winter weather can stress your trees, know what effects of stress look like on your trees and know how you can help.

Fluctuating temperatures: Did you know that extremely low temperatures are actually less damaging to your trees than extensive, rapid drops? For some us, the past few weeks were filled with extremes, as one day to another differed by nearly 40 degrees. Sudden ground freezes and rapid, extensive temperature drops can cause serious stress to your trees.

  • The solution: Prepare your trees for extreme winter weather with our winter checklist.

Frost cracks: If you are in fact experiencing rapid temperature changes, be on the lookout for frost cracks. When temperatures drop suddenly, your tree’s outer layer of bark may contract more rapidly than the inner layer, resulting in long, vertical cracks. Once your tree experiences a frost crack, it is likely to reappear every year.

  • The solution: Wrap trees in burlap to help them keep warm and protect them against wind and salt spray
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Rapidly fluctuating temperatures may cause more harm to your trees than snow accumulation.

Winterburn: Some trees, especially evergreens, are stressed by desiccation, or the loss of water, as well as winter sun and heavy winds. Look for browning at the tip of the foliage in hemlocks, junipers, pines and yews.

  • The solution: Apply an anti-desiccant treatment to evergreens to help reduce the loss of water. Also, water trees and shrubs during drier periods or when the ground is unfrozen.

Root damage: Damage to your tree’s roots can cause serious damage or even death. If you are likely to experience soil temperatures below 15 degrees, know that your trees may have stress damage.

  • The solution: Apply mulch, leaf litter and snow cover to help insulate roots and prevent the temperatures from falling below freezing.

Snow and ice breakage: Heavy snow and ice storms can add extra weight to your tree’s branches and limbs, causing breakage. This can be increased by improper removal and shaking ice off branches. 

  • The solution: Tie branches together with cloth or twine, gently remove fluffy, powdery snow or naturally let ice melt away.

Do you suspect your tree is suffering from winter weather stress? We can help! Contact your local, professionally trained Davey arborist for a free consultation.

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