Did you notice it’s getting colder day by day? Alright, alright, I know it’s obvious. Bad joke! But this blog isn’t a joke. As we approach the days where we start layering up in warm clothes to resist the cold winds and freezing temperatures, we must not forget to take care of the tall and handsome trees in our gardens. Yeah, yeah, yeah, small and little ones too. No body-shaming here!
So, today we will give you a few tips for winter tree care. You don’t have to be an Arboriculturist to prevent your trees from harsh weather conditions. A little bit of awareness and involvement is enough to preserve our trees during harsh winters.
1. Proper Watering
We often confuse atmospheric humidity with soil humidity. Both are inter-related but yet independent. During winter, the moisture content is high in the air due to lower temperatures. It often leads to a higher moisture content in soil due to decreased evaporation and transpiration. But not always. Sometimes we stop watering or tree or decreasing the frequency below the necessary limits, which causes water stress in trees. Also, due to frozen soil, many tree roots cannot absorb water leading to drying out of parts of trees or complete trees in some cases. It’s advisable to water your trees for at least 15 mins twice a week during winters. Make sure not to water too much of the area away from the tree base.
Protecting tree roots is very crucial in winters, especially here ‘up north.’ Use garden waste like leaves, woodchips, and other organic matter to make a natural mulch. Spread this mulch around the base of the tree in the shape of a donut. Keep the mulch 8-10 cm deep while ensuring that it is not piled up against the tree trunk. To take things one-notch up the scale, add compost to the mulch.
Preventing Pruning of the vulnerable branches is essential to avoid lateral damages due to frost, breeze, stress. It is highly beneficial to do structural Pruning to help with proper aeration and avoid any winter stress in trees. The best time to prune the trees is the dormant season, which is Late winters to spring, but it is ideal for keeping a check on weak, affected limbs from time to time during the entire winter season.
4. Use Windbreakers
Although trees themselves act as windbreakers, some weak and soft members of the tree family do need the support and guard of the stronger siblings. The hard, native evergreen trees can withstand the harsh winter climate, but for others, you may consider building a burlap barrier. It’s simple. All you need is burlap wrap and 4 stakes. Place the stakes around the tree and wrap the burlap around the 4 stakes. Make sure to leave enough space between the burlap and the tree parts.
5. Tree Guards
Now, it’s not just the weather that we need to worry about. Our small animal friends are also attracted to the tree foliage. To prevent shrubs and trees from the hungry animals scavaging for the scare food over the winters, place a plastic tree guard or wire mesh enclosure around your tree for protection. Keep in mind that the tree guard should be retractable and breathable for proper tree growth.
Now that we have learned some essential tips for winter tree care, it’s time we learn some other facts about our green friends.
6. Gypsy Moths
One of the major pests that can destroy your trees and garden overnight is the ‘Gypsy Moth’. These small, beautiful, white, or brown coloured moths can damage every part of the tree above ground and act as a carrier or incubator for various diseases besides damaging the tree directly. These little pests lay eggs on your trees, giving birth to the caterpillars that feed off the tree. They would cover the whole tree trunk, stems, and foliage, leading to the weakening of the plant and causing death ultimately. To learn more about the Gypsy moth and how to control them, read our upcoming blogs.
Stay tuned for our next blog!