Trees are the lungs of the planet. Every day they go to work to create the air we breathe, and they have been proven to drastically improve the health and wellbeing of people. That’s why it’s so important to understand and recognize signifiers that your tree might be suffering.
Winter is just around the corner, and as we all know, extreme and erratic weather can happen at any time. Many trees can tolerate the crazy weather and freezing temperatures, but those that can’t impose a serious safety hazard to you and your loved ones.
Are your trees prematurely changing colors, wilting, and dropping leaves? That’s a pretty good indication that your tree is sick and in need of some love and care.
If your trees are showing symptoms, it’s best to take action quickly, before it’s too late to save the tree, or before it causes damage to your property or house. Eliminating the risk of having to remove a tree is much easier and less costly than having to pay for a tree service company to come and remove it.
As the seasons change and leaves turn colors, there are many things you can do to set yourself up in the best position possible. Chop Tree Service has a team of certified tree arborists who have decades of experience keeping trees healthy. Below they’ve provided 5 things you can do yourself before each winter to ensure your trees are ready/stay healthy.
1. Mulch The Base
Putting mulch around a tree that’s already covered by the ground and the soil might seem a little strange, however, adding mulch could be the difference between a healthy tree and a sick one.
Mulch retains moisture, keeping the tree hydrated, and it also insulates the roots against the extreme temperatures. If the roots freeze or dry out they can sustain permanent damage, leaving them dead or worse—susceptible to falling over on your property.
So, what’s the right way to mulch? You will want to leave a 2-3 inch gap in between the trunk and the start of the mulch. This will decrease the likelihood of fungus growth on the tree trunk. For the first 12 inches immediately surrounding the trunk, make sure to spread the mulch in a thin layer in order to prevent problems associated with excessive mulching. The remainder of the mulch should be about 2-3 inches in depth.
As far as what type of mulch you should use, normal wood chips, standard bark mulch, or even shredded leaves are the perfect fertilizer. Try checking in with your local recycling center, some give away wood chips for free!
2. Proofing The Trunk
Leaves on the trees act like sunscreen to the bark. When the fall season has finished its shedding, trees become directly exposed to the sunlight.
In the winter months, trees, especially young ones, become susceptible to sunscald (like a sunburn for people) which is when the tree bark sustains permanent damage like frost cracks that affect the growth and appearance of the tree. Sunscald is the result of the bright winter sunlight reflecting off of the snow and other light colored objects resulting in intense fluctuation in the tree bark.
There are several different material options you can use to wrap your tree. You can buy commercial tree wrap, or if you like to DIY, you can use paper, corrugated cardboard, burlap, or polypropylene fabric.
Wrapping a tree is simple, the most important part is timing. A good rule of thumb is to wrap your trees around later November, and to unwrap the trees around the middle of April. However, wrapping should ultimately be dependent on the weather.
When wrapping the tree, start from top to bottom, overlapping the wrap at about one third. You want the wrap to be snug, but not too tight, and secure the wrap at the top with a pin pr staple to hold the fabric in place.
3. Protection From Critters
Usually, wrapping the base with fabric is enough protection in the winter, but if you want to be extra safe, adding a safeguard fence will protect the trees from critters and rodents that could be a potential threat to your trees.
A mesh wire fence can be purchased from most any home improvement or outdoors store. If you want some extra stability, stakes can also be applied (see photo below). We recommend burying the fence just a few inches away from the trunk and below the ground.
4. Hydration Is Key
Winter is coming, and although you might think hydration would come naturally due to snow, winter can actually be just as dry as summer. In the fall months, you will want to water your trees once a week up until it snows. Make sure to water them slowly so that the water doesn’t run away on the top of the soil, and it has the opportunity to soak deep down and nourish the roots.
Water isn’t only important for hydration purposes, it also acts as an insulator. Moist soil stays warmer than dry soil, and as the plant absorbs more water, the cells expand and become more resistant against cold damage.
5. Prune Later
Technically, you can prune a tree whenever, however, timing does have an effect on the growth and lifespan of your tree. The best time of year to prune is actually in the middle of winter because leafless trees make finding dead branches a breeze. However, we recommend pruning the trees before a large snowfall to ensure that no dead heavyweight branches crash and put you, your propery, or others at risk.
It’s also important to know pruning too early in a tree’s life can be detrimental to it’s growth, especially if pruned near winter as trees become more vulnerable to illnesses and disesase. If you’re unsure if you should remove a limb or not, you can call your local tree arborists, like CHOP, and they will be more than happy to assess your treer and give you the best advice.
Keeping your trees safe, healthy and hydrated will save you money and headaches down the road. Young trees are more susceptible to disease and damage, so it’s especially important to keep an eye on them.
Although we encourage you to DIY and learn about tree care, if you’re worried about causing damage to your trees or your property, we recommend that you call a certified tree arborist.
Tree arborists are trained and skilled in tree removal and pruning services for dangerous, hard to manage trees. With the help of an arborist, you can get all of your questions answered and get a free estimate. Bookmark this post so that you have the information you need to protect your trees right at your fingertips, or call a tree arborist today and find out everything you need to know.certified tree arborist, Chop Tree Service, Healthy