'Trees Need Protection in the Wintertime'
In the wintertime, trees and shrubs can be damaged by the extreme cold, dry winds, snow, sleet, frost and even the harsh, low sunlight. Young trees are especially vulnerable to damage from environmental changes over the wintertime. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your costly trees and shrubs through the cold weather months.
Wrap Your Trees
Wrapping your trees can protect them from cold temperatures, dry winds, excessive moisture and ice. Many people use burlap to wrap their trees because it is a flexible, inexpensive material that is environmentally-friendly. Another option is to wrap the trunk of a tree using a roll of brown paper specially designed to protect trees. In addition, there are flexible wraps made of plastic that are durable and can be reused over several winter seasons. I think this is an especially good method of protection because a wrap can deter deer, rodents and other animals from chewing on a tree's trunk causing damage.
Road Salt and Trees Don't Mix
The salt that your city or county sprinkles on the icy roads can help your car or truck get more traction as you drive along. Unfortunately, it can wreak havoc on your trees and shrubs. Evergreens and other trees that grow near a road can suffer damage from exposure to the chemicals in road salt. The salt can be thrown onto the trees by cars passing by. Wrapping trees and shrubs in burlap can keep them safe from damage caused by road salt.
Paint Your Tree Trunks
Maybe you have some young trees with narrow trunks that still have a lot of growing to do. One way to protect them from sunscald is to paint them! Dilute some white interior latex paint and put a layer on the tree's south side. The white paint helps to reflect the harsh winter sunlight.
Using Mulch to Protect a Tree's Roots
Putting mulch or shredded leaves around the base of your trees and shrubs can help to keep their roots warm and moist during the cold weather. The mulch pile should be about four to six inches deep and not touch the base of the tree or shrub. Keep in mind that rodents are more apt to make homes in your mulch if it sits up against a tree's trunk or touches the base of a shrub.
Create a Wind Barrier
If you have a tree that stands alone in your yard without the natural protection of other trees, consider making a wind barrier. Put four stakes in the ground around your tree and wrap a large sheet of canvas or a tarp around the stakes using twine to secure it. The height of the wooden stakes depends on how tall the tree is that you're trying to protect. Think of this canvas as a tent that goes around your tree as opposed to over its top. This barrier will prevent your tree from taking direct hits from the harsh winter winds that can crack or break weaker branches.
Taking one or more of these precautions with your trees and shrubs before winter can keep them in good condition and looking beautiful next spring. Thanks for reading. - Alan