Trees generally survive the winter by going dormant. You may think that this means you don’t need to do any maintenance until spring, but actually, tree pruning is best during the winter for many species because it doesn’t cause the tree distress and it doesn’t attract bugs that could spread disease. Failure to maintain your tree could lead to eventual tree removal in Kitchener/Waterloo. Here are some things you can do for your trees in winter to maintain their health.
Cold temperatures and a lack of liquid water during the winter can be difficult on trees. A layer of mulch can help to hold soil moisture in and protect the tree roots by preventing the ground around the tree from becoming so cold. If you use organic mulch around your trees, it gradually breaks down to improve the soil quality.
Mulching is a tree maintenance task you should carry out in Autumn before the winter snows arrive. When applying mulch to a tree, be careful to leave a gap of a few inches between the trunk and the mulch layer. Otherwise, moisture could get trapped between the mulch and the tree trunk, which could lead to mould growth or rodent damage.
2. Trunk Wrapping
Trunk wrapping is another maintenance task you should carry out early in winter. Securing strips of burlap material around a tree trunk can help deter rodents from damaging the tree trunk. However, the main reason to wrap the trunk of a tree is to prevent sunscald. Sunscald refers to cracks in the trunk of a tree that occurs when the sun thaws it during the day, but when the temperatures drop again when the sun goes down, the trunk freezes again rapidly. This causes rupturing of the bark cells. Young trees, evergreens, and trees with soft bark are particularly susceptible to sunscald.
3. Preventing Salt Damage
Ice and snow removal on your property is important to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. Salt, i.e., sodium chloride, is effective at melting ice but can damage trees. Trunk wrapping provides some protection, but the best way to prevent salt damage to your trees is to use ice melt products that use compounds other than sodium chloride. Alternatives include magnesium chloride and calcium chloride.
4. Removing Snow From Tree Branches
Snow may look light and airy while falling, but when it collects on objects, it can become very heavy. Tree branches are already brittle in the winter, and the extra weight can cause them to break off completely. This is a particular problem with evergreen trees.
There are right ways and wrong ways to remove snow from tree branches. Don’t use a broom or shovel to force the snow off or you could inadvertently damage the branches. Instead, use an upwards motion to gently push the snow off a branch that seems dangerously weighted down.
5. Planning for Good Soil Drainage
Have you ever seen trees with roots that have pushed pavement upwards? This is a problem that can cause tripping hazards on sidewalks and potholes in driveways. It occurs when there isn’t enough room in the soil for the roots to grow the way they are supposed to. When the roots can’t grow out, they push up instead.
Sometimes the reason that the soil doesn’t have enough room for the roots is because of excess moisture. Making sure the soil drains well can prevent root heave.
Soil drainage isn’t something you can fix after the tree is already established. However, if you are planning to plant a new tree in the spring, you can improve the drainage of the soil by mixing in compost and sand at the time of planting.
Tree Removal in Kitchener/Waterloo From Martin’s Tree Service
Winter maintenance can help keep your trees healthy, but sometimes it becomes necessary to remove them. We remove trees safely and affordably after first performing an assessment of the risks and benefits. Learn more about tree removal services near me.