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Broken tree trunk and branches after a freezing rain.

What Sort of Damage Can Winter Do to Missouri Trees?

It’s true that in the wild trees can endure decades and even centuries of Missouri’s often cold winters. Still, the trees on your property have an advantage — they have you to take care of them! The following are some types of weather systems that can arrive in Missouri during the winter, the damage they can do to your trees, and how to prevent or mitigate that damage.

Rain and Saturated Soil

Rain is usually a good thing, for trees and shrubs need watering even during the winter when they’re dormant. Missouri winters tend to be dry, but periods of excessive rainfall can saturate the soil to the point where the roots can’t take up oxygen or nutrients. This can cause the roots to rot, especially if they belong to a young tree. One solution is to aerate the soil to make sure it gets oxygen. You can also install a drain, or ask one of our professionals to do it.

Sunscald and Bark Damage

Sunscald happens when a winter day is warmer than usual and direct sunlight touches one side of the tree. That side of the tree tries to come out of dormancy, but if the next night plunges below freezing, the cells are shocked and can die. With evergreens, the shifts in temperature shock the needles or the leaves, and they turn brown and fall off. This is called winter burn and can also happen when the soil completely dries out. A remedy is to protect the side of the tree that gets direct sun and wind with burlap or a tarp. It’s also important to water the tree deeply, and add mulch a few inches from the root to the drip line or the end of the root ball.

Snow and Ice on Branches

The area of Springfield gets about 10 inches of snow during its winters, and a lot of that snow settles on branches that might already be weakened by disease or cold temperatures. Dangerous ice storms also occur. After a snowstorm, simply brush off branches that are bowed with snow. On the other hand, trying to remove ice from branches can be dangerous. You’ll need to wait until the ice melts to tend to your trees. If the ice has broken branches, prune them back.

Call Us to Learn More About Winter Tree Care

Our tree care professionals are pleased to help our customers in the Springfield area take the best care of their beautiful trees. We pride ourselves on our unrivaled customer service, which includes knowledge, skills, courtesy, and, in a profession where things can get messy, tidiness. Other services we provide include trimming and pruning, tree removal, and storm preparation and cleanup. Don’t hesitate to call us at The Tree Doctor today.

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