Care For Your Trees In Winter

While most gardening activities tend to take place in spring and summer, the fall and wintertime is a great time to take care of some of your annual tree maintenance. When the weather starts getting colder and the leaves begin to fall, your trees are going to need a little bit of special attention. Not only is trimming and pruning late in the year important for optimal tree health, it’s also prudent to get rid of any foliage that could cause damage to your property in the event of heavy snows or winter storms. 

Why Trim And Prune In Winter?

  • The most important reason why trimming and pruning should be done in the winter is because they have significantly slowed their growth. During the fall, most plants stop growing their leaves and branches and instead direct their resources towards their roots to settle in for winter. In fact, if trees are pruned during the spring when growth begins to accelerate, it could actually stunt their growth. If you prune during the fall and winter instead, you help to ensure optimal growth during the spring and summer months.
  • When temperatures begin to rise, so does the incidence of disease. The diseases that affect trees are more likely to spread when the weather is warm and humid. If you trim and prune in the spring and summer months, you could be making your trees more vulnerable to disease.
  • The last reason to trim your trees during the winter is purely practical: it’s easier! When all the leaves have fallen the branches become easier to access. If the tree is bare it is much easier to evaluate the full structure of the tree and decide which branches to cut and by how much.

Protect Your Trees From Cold

Freezing weather in the Inland Northwest is right around the corner. It is wise to take steps to protect your plants from the frigid temps if you want to see them blooming come springtime. Juvenile trees and small bushes can be particularly vulnerable. To protect them, you may consider draping them with loose fitting plastic or burlap. In order to provide the best insulation, make sure that whatever material you choose reaches all the way to the ground.

Apply Mulch For Extra Protection

Mulch is an excellent way to protect your trees and shrubs from the elements. A proper application of mulch acts as an insulation blanket and helps to regulate the temperature of the soil, protecting your plants from frost damage. Organic material like bark or wood chips are most commonly used, but even a heavy duty piece of plastic would work for this purpose.

Apply mulch a few feet from the trunk of the tree extending out the edges of the canopy. Don’t spread mulch too close to the base. Mulch is great for keeping moisture in the ground, and if it’s touching the base of the tree during the wet winter disease is sure to flourish.

Idaho is home to one of the only temperate rainforests in the world, and winters here can be wet and challenging. If you are looking for advice on how to keep your trees healthy in winter, be sure to call Kooteani Tree Service.