The polar vortex that enveloped much of the country last season caused significant damage to the tree population in Northeast Ohio, from breakage during heavy snow and ice storms to winter burn from harsh winds. Fortunately, we can do something now to prepare our trees and shrubs for what winter may bring.
Forest City Tree Protection recommends the following:
- Mulch – Add a thin, protective layer of organic mulch around your tree in the fall. This will help retain water and reduce stress from temperature extremes.
- Water – Give your trees a drink. Winter droughts require watering as much as summer droughts. Occasional watering during the winter on young trees is recommended, but be sure to water only when soil and trees are cool – not frozen.
- Prune – Winter is one of the best times to prune trees:
- Our best, full-time arborists are available at this time of year, ensuring that your work will be done in the professional manner we have provided since 1910.
- During our slower season we offer special “Winter Rates“. For a no-obligation winter rate pruning inspection, call 440-421-9589 or 216-381-1700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Without vision obstructed by foliage, it is easy to spot weak, broken, rubbing, interfering and obstructing limbs.
- The felling of trees and dropping of limbs on firm ground does minimal damage to lawn areas. If needed, equipment is more easily driven onto frozen & firm lawn areas.
- The spread of contagious diseases such as fireblight on crabapples and Dutch elm disease on American elms is prevented. Destructive insects and diseases that spend the winter in deadwood are destroyed.
- Unsightly and hazardous branches are removed before the landscape setting is at its peak of beauty in spring and summer, and before the lawn is in use.
- Flower beds or gardens under a tree may be damaged by summer pruning, but are not harmed when pruned in the winter.
- Shrubs and hedges, such as privet, can be reshaped and the size controlled. When done in summer, some shrubs may appear “woody” for the season. Winter pruning allows shrubs to leaf out full in the spring, for a better appearance.
- Prevent Injury – Heavy ice and snow accumulation can split or break branches, and animals cause harm by rubbing or chewing on trees. Protect young trees by wrapping the base in a plastic guard or a metal hardware cloth.
- Winter burn – Winter burn is a common injury that occurs on many evergreens, resulting in dead or brown patches. Applying an anti-desiccant spray before the end of the year on broad or narrow-leafed evergreens can significantly reduce moisture loss during the winter months, maintain the evergreens’ natural color and protect from salt damage.
It’s believed record heat in 2012 combined with above average rainfall in 2013 created conditions ripe for stressing trees in the Midwest last winter.
Evergreen shrubs, rhododendrons and yews showed noticeable dieback, with many boxwoods not surviving into the spring of 2014. The buds of Sugar maples were killed or delayed, reducing sap flow that hurt the maple syrup industry. Other tree species were slow to leaf out and although not dead, they did not look healthy for most of the year.
Evergreen trees and shrubs are at additional risk this winter because they continue to evaporate moisture due to dry winds. When the soil is frozen, the water doesn’t get replaced. For this reason, I strongly recommend our Winter Protection anti-desiccant spray before the end of the year on broad or narrow-leafed evergreens. It reduces moisture loss during the winter months, helping to maintain the natural color of your evergreens and protect from salt damage.
Still, trees and shrubs have the ability to survive a severe winter if provided the proper tree care. For further information call 440-421-9589 or 216-381-1700 or email email@example.com. For more information about the proper care of trees and shrubs: www.forestcitytree.com.