Whether we like it or not, another winter storm season is quickly approaching. According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, ice storms routinely cause millions of dollars annually in property damage. While we can’t keep winter away, some advanced preparation now can minimize or even prevent the damage that could occur to your trees over the winter.
Ice storms are one of the more devastating weather events Mother Nature can throw at us in the winter. Having properly pruned trees can minimize, and often even prevent, ice damage to your trees. If your trees were pruned in the last 3-4 years you’re probably going to be OK, but if it has been some time since their last crown thinning it might be time to schedule a visit.
Winter temperatures can also pose problems for our landscape plants. Extremely low temperatures can damage tree buds, the trunk of thin-barked trees, and the foliage of evergreen trees and shrubs. Burlapping and anti-desiccant sprays can help protect trees from winter winds, salt spray and moisture loss.
Using tree wraps can protect thin-barked trees from frost cracks. An associated issue is the threat to your trees from rabbits and mice. They like to chew on the bark or lower branches of some tree or shrub species. If this has been a problem in the past then consider installing a 30 x 36-inch fence of hardware cloth around these susceptible trees and shrubs.
An often overlooked tactic to protect evergreen trees is late-season watering. Evergreen foliage transpires water all winter, so your trees will really benefit from one last deep watering before you put away your garden hose for the winter.