Winter is a tough season for your trees and shrubs. Climatic extremes, harsh winds, and winter storms all can take a toll on the landscape you have worked so hard to maintain all summer. Now is the time to prepare for the coming winter and also to develop a plan for the spring.
For starters, winter is an ideal time to have your trees inspected. Unobstructed by leaves, arborists can clearly see structural issues and better determine how the tree will handle high winds. It is easier to recognize certain defects and identify dormant buds, facilitating precision pruning.
Pruning most trees in winter is beneficial for a variety of reasons. Services performed at this time will have less of an impact on the landscape: You certainly won’t need to worry about damaging annuals and other flowering plants! In some areas, frozen ground will allow equipment access that wouldn’t be possible other times of year.
Aside from protecting your trees, another reason to schedule an arborist visit in late fall or early winter is to be proactive in protecting your property. Heavy accumulations of wet snow or ice along with high winds can spell trouble for trees. If you have limbs or branches overhanging your house, driveway, or sidewalk, you may want to cable and brace or prune them before winter stress causes breakage and damage. Branches or trees that are dead, diseased or unsafe should be removed if they pose a hazard to life or property.
Keep your trees healthy all year round with a regular tree maintenance program that includes:
• Cabling & bracing
• Insect and disease treatments
Keep rock salt (sodium chloride) away from trees, as it interferes with the ability of tree roots to absorb water, oxygen and nutrients. Instead, choose ice melt products containing calcium, potassium or magnesium chloride.