Spotting the damage and how to take care of it
Winter is coming up, which means it’s time to check in on your trees and their health. We often think of our trees as strong and eternal, but that doesn’t mean they should be neglected, especially during the dead of winter. Although their leaves fall off and they shrivel, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a fruitful return come spring. Consult this educational article that takes expert advice to help you take care of your trees during the winter by explaining the causes and preventative measures surrounding winter damage.
Signs of winter damage to trees
It is normal for bare trees to look a lot smaller or less robust in the winter, as the lack of moisture causes them to shrivel in appearance – and not to mention they’re missing their abundant leaves. But the true way to tell if a tree has been damaged is browning on the needles of year-round arbours, such as evergreens or pine or spruce. You can also consult with a landscaper to check on the health of your tree’s bark. They will be able to tell if it’s sick as early as the beginning of spring. In fact, the health of most trees damaged by winter won’t show until early spring, but a landscaper can spot some of the signs.
Read More: What to Look for in a Tree Removal Company
Causes of winter tree damage
Though you may not think it, dramatic temperature swings can wreak havoc on the environment around you, especially your landscaping. Plants, even trees, can be stressed or injured by a sudden, hard freeze. The swing in weather can also make your trees more susceptible to injury, as woodsier plants are vulnerable to the harsh climate.
Extreme temperature lows
Some species of trees and shrubs can get injured if temperatures fall below a minimum tolerance level. Trees that are most likely to suffer winter injury from temperature are those that have already been exposed to previous stress.
Frostbite and winter burn
Winter burn occurs with loss of water through leaf transpiration and the harsh winter sun and winds dry-our tree needles. Water in the stems and roots is frozen and unavailable to replenish the loss. A rapid drop in temperature after a warm sunny day can also cause further injury to the plants, and prolonged dry cold exposure can lead to winter dryness.
Winter can cause a lot of dryness to not just your skin but your trees as well. Lower moisture content in the air and soil creates a very dry winter environment. Extreme conditions of this are also known as winter burn, and you can see the effect in the browning of evergreen needles. Severe cases are irreversible in damage.
When branches are coated in ice, they can become quite brittle and may become easier to break or damage through movement. Also, because trees are flexible, suddenly knocking the ice weight off may cause branches to snap back and potentially damage the tree’s circulatory system.
Sunscald injury happens when living cells just inside the outer bark are damaged by day to night temperature fluctuations during the winter months. So, while we’re enjoying those brief breaks in winter thanks to freakish temperature change, our trees can suffer from the back-and-forth swings.
The salt we use to de-ice our pavements can also cause damage to trees and shrubs, but you won’t see the symptoms of damage until the spring and early summer. This happens when the salt is in the soil, causing the browning of evergreens, leaf scorch, branch die back, and dead areas in turf. Salt will leach through well-drained soils, but damage can be extensive in poorly drained soils.
Girdling is a technique to force a fruit-bearing plant to bear larger fruit, and it also temporarily stops tree growth. The act of girdling is when a piece of bark around the circumference of a tree is removed, but this can halt nutrients from moving throughout the tree. If your tree has been girdled, it needs to be given the proper attention immediately. Neglected girdle trunk damage can result in your tree’s slow death.
Read More: The Best Time of Year to Cut Down Trees
Prevent winter damage by hiring professionals to ensure that any ailments your trees could be susceptible to are taken care of. Get your trees ready for the winter and stormy seasons such as early spring, because strong winds, rain, lightning, and heavy snow and ice are common causes of damage to trees and their branches. And in the worst cases, these fallen trees and branches can damage your car, home, garage, and property. Avoid all of these complications by taking the proper measures, and remember to keep in mind to routinely check your trees after larger storms.