Winter is coming and its adverse weather conditions can have detrimental effects on the condition of your garden trees. The change in seasons is likely to bring bursts of snow and icy winds, along with freezing temperatures, which some trees cannot withstand.
Although trees have several defence mechanisms of their own – for example, the shedding of leaves to reduce water loss– there are still manual ways to make sure your trees survive the winter.
Protect the Roots
Often neglected, the roots are perhaps the most important ways to make sure your trees survive the winter. If they become frozen during cold spells, root tissues will take water from the leaves and stems which can subsequently kill the tree.
Evergreens are in particular danger as they don’t shed leaves during the season. Repeated freezing and thawing can also be very damaging.
To prevent this, you should place a mulch layer around the base of the tree (roughly 6 inches) to help roots retain moisture and thus prevent frostbite.
In order to prevent water from escaping a tree, anti-desiccants can be applied to the foliage to create a thin barrier over the leaves.
If roots are struggling with moisture retention during the winter, then anti-desiccants are a beneficial antidote, especially for evergreens.
Anti-desiccants can also been used to protect leaves from winter burn and fungal diseases which can occur during periods of harsh weather.
In relation to thin-barked or newly planted trees, a specially designed paper wrap can be used as added protection against the elements. It is most effective against the damaging process of sunscald.
This is where any sunlight collected during the day will stimulate cell activity and wake the tree from dormancy.
Because the cells cannot then deal with the freezing temperatures at night, the tree can suffer permanent damage.
Wrapping the bark from bottom up to the second branch should be done every November for up to 5 winters and removed each spring.
Freezing temperatures will dehydrate root systems and sometimes cause irreparable damage to the tree.
By watering the ground around the base of the tree, you can hydrate the roots before frost kicks in.
Irrigation should begin in late autumn once leaves have fallen and continued throughout the winter season – this allows trees to sustain a water reserve for coming out of dormancy.
You should water deeply into the soil throughout this period, except for when the ground freezes.
Heavy snows and winds can bend branches to point of breaking, especially evergreen trees which don’t shed leaves during the winter and thus collect more snowfall.
To counteract this you can tie smaller trees together if in close proximity, using strong nylon string or even cables for heavier branches.
Artificial strings must be removed when the weather picks up so as not to affect the natural growth of the branches however.
In addition, proper pruning will help eliminate weak branches and thus reduce the chance of snow damage.
For any more information on ways to make sure your trees survive the winter do get in touch. Additionally, if you need a tree surgeon in the West London area then call us on 07771 332 149.