Preparing Trees & Shrubs for Winter’s Impact Part I

Why Should You Winterize Your Trees and Shrubs?

As the weather turns cooler, it’s time to prepare your trees and shrubs for the truly cold, harsh winter months that are right around the corner.  If you’ve been meticulous about landscaping with plants hardy for our region, you may think you’re covered.  If we have “normal” winter temperatures and conditions, you will be.  But there are many “exceptions” that can devastate the hardiest of plants.  And if you have ornamentals not truly meant for our region, they are definitely at risk.

What are some of the challenges winter presents?

  • Early frost and cold spells have the potential to damage plant tissues as they haven’t had time to harden off for the winter.
  • Conifer needles and broadleaf evergreen foliage continue to transpire (give off water vapor) during the winter months, so dry winds and sunny days can dry out or “burn” these plants.
  • Plants can’t access moisture from the soil once the ground freezes, which means they can’t replace the moisture lost from evaporation and transpiration.
  • Cycles of thawing and refreezing can trick plants into budding too early, and the new growth is likely to be killed off during the cold spell.
  • These cycles of thawing and refreezing can also cause plants heave out of the ground, exposing roots to dry winds and strong sun.
  • That same winter sun that makes the cold more tolerable for humans can damage trees by heating up the bark during the day, which can then freeze and crack when sunset causes a swift drop in temperatures.
  • When we have a particularly long, hard winter, deer, mice, and other animals resort to gnawing on bark as other food sources become scarce.
  • While the weight of heavy, wet snow can damage branches, snow cover generally is good for plants as it acts as an insulator from changing temperatures while also providing much needed moisture for plants.

So, what can you do to protect your investment and help your landscape thrive come next spring? Call us at 540.662.8316 to find out about the services Prolawn offers.  And stay tuned to Part II of this post for steps you can take on your own.