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What Happens to Trees During the Winter

A healthy, well-established tree has many ways to beat the cold of winter. Bark acts much like a coat over the tree’s vulnerable inner layer and protects it from the cold. Because winter tends to be drier than summer, deciduous trees drop their leaves to protect the tree from water loss. Most conifers have needles that they hold onto year-round since needles are better at retaining water. The cells of trees also become cold-tolerant as the days grow shorter. This protects against freezing. You can bolster your tree’s natural defenses against cold. This is especially needful if it’s young and recently planted.

Give Your Trees a Drink

Make sure to water your trees deeply throughout the season, but if you live in a place where the ground freezes, stop watering just before a freeze. If there’s a thaw, start watering the tree again, especially if your winter has been unusually dry. The rule of thumb is to give your tree 10 gallons per inch of the diameter of its trunk every week.

Add Mulch Over the Roots of Your Tree

Starting in late fall, add mulch around the tree’s drip line. The drip line is where the longest branches end. You can also mulch inward but make sure that it doesn’t cover the place where the trunk meets the root. Also, don’t add more than 2 inches of mulch.

Mulch keeps the soil warm and helps it retain water. Some tree owners wait until the ground freezes before adding mulch around their trees. Adding mulch before that makes it the perfect home for mice and other pests.

Wrap the Tree to Protect Against Sunscald

Sunscald happens when the sun warms and thaws a tree trunk during the day, but the cold night temperatures cause it to refreeze. This can make the trunk split. You can protect your tree from sunscald by wrapping the trunk in burlap or tree wrap. It just needs to be applied once, and you can take it off in the spring. Another tip is to paint the trunk white. It won’t hurt the tree! Also, choose the location of the tree with care even before you plant it. Sunscald most often strikes trees that are to the south or the west of your building. Wrapping also prevents rodents and rabbits from gnawing on young trees.

Ask Us About Protecting Your Trees in Winter

Trees have ways of protecting themselves from the cold, but they could use help. Let our professional arborists help you take care of your trees throughout the winter season. It doesn’t matter whether you require residential or commercial tree service, don’t hesitate to call us at The Tree Doctor of Springield, MO.

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