It's time to prepare your young trees for the colder weather as fall and winter approaches. High winds, severe cold, and temperature fluctuations can all damage a tree that hasn't been exposed to these conditions before. You can hire a tree service, like B. Haney & Sons, to help you prepare your tress for winter, or you can do it yourself. The following tips can help you make sure your young trees are up to the challenge.
Tip #1: Insulate the Ground
Mulch is one of the single best things you can do for your young trees, since it insulates the ground and protects roots from rapidly fluctuating temperatures. Spread the mulch over the root zone of the tree, or cover the ground underneath the areas shadowed by the tree's branch canopy. Use a 2- or 3-inch layer of straw or wood mulch so there are no bare spots, and leave a small space around the trunk so the mulch doesn't touch the tree directly.
Tip #2: Keep It Hydrated
Trees don't need as much water in winter, but a small drink helps minimize the chances of winter burn. Water deciduous trees for the last time right before the ground usually freezes in fall or early winter. Evergreens benefit from light watering throughout winter when the weather is dry and the ground isn't frozen.
Tip #3: Stake Wisely
Trees develop stronger roots in response to trunk movement from wind, but top-heavy young trees or those that haven't had time to grow deep roots may need careful staking to protect them against blowing over in high winter winds. Place a stake a foot or so away, on either side of the trunk. Loop tree ties around the trunk and the stakes. Just make sure to remove the ties in spring or early summer, once the threat of winter wind is past.
Tip #4: Stop the Burn
Deciduous trees can suffer winter trunk damage when exposed to bright, warm sunlight on an otherwise freezing winter's day. The sun causes the sap to begin thawing on one side of the trunk, and then it refreezes and expands when the sun sets. A similar issue with sun, cold, and wind can burn the foliage of young evergreens. For deciduous trees, wrap a tree wrap or burlap around the trunks to provide protection. You can also wrap burlap around the foliage of young evergreens, just leave the top open to allow air circulation. Alternatively, create a wind and sun block around the tree by stretching the burlap around stakes set a few inches out from the tree. Just remember to remove all wrappings in spring.