When winter rolls around, many of us find ourselves indoors most of the time to escape the bitter cold. During these colder temperatures, our trees and landscapes are sometimes forgotten. But is there something we should be doing in the winter to help our trees?
Trees go through a process every year much like hibernation, called dormancy. Everything within the tree slows down, leaves fall, and growth is delayed until leaves emerge again in the spring. In this blog, we will talk about what you can do to help your trees through dormancy.
As a tree care company, we are often asked what keeps us busy in the winter. Actually, the dormant months are the best time to prune your trees. With all the leaves gone, the arborist has a better view of the tree’s structure and branches that may be damaged or broken. We can easily see which branches need to be removed. When we prune away weak branches, we can reduce the hazard of breakage that occurs with winter winds and snow or ice accumulation. Winter pruning also decreases the risk of insects and diseases invading freshly cut wound wood.
We have discussed in previous blogs about how trees don’t heal, they seal. Trees go through a process called compartmentalization which walls off decay to stop it from spreading. When a tree is pruned, it will take years for the tree to grow over, or seal off the wound and completely close over it. Research has shown that optimum wound closure occurs when pruning is done in late winter as the tree enters the next growing season. Our goal is to make the smallest cut possible in the correct way so that the wound will close quickly and completely and there is minimal stress on the tree.
Another significant way to care for your trees in the winter is to ensure they have adequate water. As long as the ground is not frozen, trees still need periodic watering. It’s a good idea to add a mulch ring for your trees. Mulch will retain moisture and add organic matter to the soil, and act as a temperature buffer for the roots.
Even when trees are dormant, they still need care in our landscapes through the winter months. Give us a call to learn how your trees can benefit from our services this winter.