Taking Care of Trees During Winter

The winter weather takes its toll on trees because of rapid fluctuations in temperature, ice, and storms. Even if your tree is a native species to colder regions in the United States, winter is still a stressful time. This is particularly true for isolated and exposed residential trees. In fact, it can be hard to avoid some of the stress.  

However, there are things you can do to lower the damage caused by winter stress. This is particularly true if you hire a tree service Memphis company. 

Rodents 

During winter, rodents that are searching for food will target trees. Rabbits and mice are the two most common offenders. These rodents are known to girdle trees and chew bark. Another potential issue is squirrels.  

To guard against mice, you’ve got to check your tree frequently. In addition to that, you have to leave a space between the trunk of your tree and the mulch. You might think about setting out bait if mice are an issue. However, you’ve got to carefully follow instructions. Wire mesh enclosures deter rabbits. There are also available paint-on repellants on the market.  

Breaking Branches 

During the winter, branches are more susceptible to breakage. This is particularly true for deciduous trees. Since the wood hardens, they turn more brittle and prone to wind damage. In addition to that, the issue of snow and ice buildup affects both evergreens and deciduous trees.  

The key to lowering branch breakage is excellent fall tree maintenance. Getting rid of susceptible and weak branches can make your whole tree less vulnerable. Another method to lessen branch breakage is to get rid of one branch of a pair sharing a deep “V” crotch. A professional tree care company can help you prune your trees properly. 

Winter Drought 

For trees, periodic droughts during the cold months are a major issue. This is particularly true for evergreens. The tree dries out if it loses more water than it can absorb from the frozen ground. Oftentimes, it’s dangerous in the early spring when the ground stays frozen as the sun warms the rest of the tree. Also, a strong breeze adds to the issue.  

Though there’s no actual way to fight winter drought, placing a thick layer of mulch around the tree’s base before the cold months arrive is useful. The job of the mulch is to protect the roots from the cold temperature. In addition to that, it also slows down moisture runoff and moisture loss.  

Cold Stress 

This type of problem appears in a lot of forms. The rapid variations between nighttime and daytime temperatures sometimes result in stress between the inner and outer wood resulting in cracks. These cracks are known as frost cracking. 

Unluckily, there’s nothing much you can do about it. The tree can often fix itself. However, the cracked spot stays susceptible to damage. In addition to that, cracking at the same place can cause a lot of damage. Palms and young trees might benefit if you wrap the bark before the cold months arrive.