How to Care for Trees in Winter


Winter is here, and to keep your yard looking beautiful in the spring, you will have to take a few extra steps to prepare for the cold weather. Even if your trees are native cold-weather species, they are not immune to the stress and negative effects cold weather can bring. Of course, trees that are native to warm weather have an even more difficult time surviving through the winter. Although you can’t change weather patterns, you can take a few extra steps to prepare your trees from winter weather stress. 

Read on to learn about the issues trees face in the winter and how you can combat them!

Issue #1: Frost Cracking

With warmer weather in the days and freezing temperatures at night, your trees may experience what’s called frost cracking. Temperature variations between the outer bark and inner wood can lead to cracks in the bark. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent frost cracking with the exception of wrapping the tree trunk in a blanket. Wrapping trees can be especially beneficial in young trees or trees native to tropical climates. 

Issue #2: Winter Drought

Because the ground freezes in the winter, trees can have difficulties finding water to absorb for hydration. This lack of water availability can lead to a type of dehydration known as winter drought. Winter drought becomes an even larger problem when temperatures start to warm the air in the spring yet the ground is still frozen. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to prevent winter drought, tree owners may have luck adding extra mulch to the base of the tree; adding mulch can prevent moisture loss and help insulate the roots. 

Issue #3: Breaking Branches

As you may imagine, cold and freezing temperatures can make trees and branches extremely brittle, making them prone to breakage. When a winter storm or wind hits a brittle branch, you could face branches falling on your home, car, or family. The best way to avoid breaking branches is with preventative pruning maintenance. Fall tree pruning will ensure the weak, diseased, and dying branches are removed before they can be further damaged by winter weather. 

Issue #4: Rodents

Although you might not have rodent issues the rest of the year, during winter they become desperate for food and shelter, and your trees will provide the perfect safe haven for both needs. Not only will you have to contend with rats and mice, but also squirrels and rabbits. The second you see any signs of infestation or rodent activity, you should set bait or call a professional exterminator to remove the rodents and protect your trees. 

The best way to ensure your trees make it through the winter is by practicing preventative maintenance throughout the year. For all of your tree needs in the Central Texas area, give Brents Tree Service a call!