Winter is here. It’s no picnic for humans, but at least we seek shelter in warm, cozy homes. Outside, our landscape must endure harsh conditions. Learn four tips to protect trees and shrubs in the winter so you can expect less cleanup and damage-control come spring.
What to Watch for in Winter
Oh, the weather outside is frightful during the winter months. Cold temperatures, drying winds, and damaging ice and snow are not ideal for vegetation. The harsh climate is not the only thing that takes a toll on landscaping. Food for animals and insects is scarce, so these creatures look to tree bark and plant roots. And there’s the salt we put down for our safety on roads and sidewalks. It damages plants, trees, and grass by preventing roots from properly absorbing water and nutrients. In the spring, the damage from all these things shows up in the form of branch dieback, cracked bark, brown or burnt-looking leaves, and premature leaf drop.
Four Tips to Protect Trees and Shrubs
Use an alternative to salt when providing protection for cars and pedestrians on slippery surfaces. There are new salt-free products on the market that help melt ice. Or try kitty litter and sand to provide traction. You can also plant salt-tolerant shrubs and trees. Ask a professional for a list of winter-hardy foliage.
Keep a broom handy. When it snows, use it to gently brush snow off of more delicate shrubbery and lower tree branches. A broom handle can dislodge hardened snow caked on branches or bushes. Just poke holes in the snow to weaken it. Don’t try to break ice off branches.
Apply mulch. Use a two-to-three inch layer of wood chips or shredded leaves to cover the area around tree trunks and shrub roots. This helps preserve moisture and warmth. Be sure to leave a three-to-four inch space between the mulch and bark or roots. This keeps insects, burrowing rodents, and moisture from coming in contact with the bark.
Protect newly planted or young trees from wind, bitter temperatures, ice, and animals by wrapping the lower trunk with strips of burlap cloth. Start at the base and wrap upward past the snow line. Plastic tree guards also work well to give trunks extra support and protection from the wind and cold. Using mesh or chicken wire around the base of trees and bushes keeps out hungry animals. Store-bought repellants add another layer of defense against deer and rodents.
We Can Help!
Protect trees and shrubs by planning ahead. Proper pruning, good drainage, mulching, and fertilizing should be part of your year-round maintenance plan. Call Free Spray Lawn Care at 866-373-3777 and let us help your landscaping weather any storm.