How antidesiccants help conifers retain moisture during the winter months
Homeowners and property managers often assume that damage to conifer trees during the winter months is caused by cold weather extremes or long periods of snowfall freezing a tree’s cellular network. But the reality is that most damage is due to a lack of moisture.
One might ask, how is that possible in climates where snowfall accumulations are present for weeks (if not months) at a time?
Something to remember – it’s not only what’s above the ground which freezes when the thermometer drops, it’s what’s below the ground too.
Roughly speaking, soil contains anywhere from 10-45% moisture, and when that moisture freezes, it’s incredibly difficult for conifers to absorb any necessary hydration from the soil through their root system. Think about trying to drink a thick milkshake through an ordinary straw, and the effort that’s involved to extract even the smallest amount of the liquidy goodness into your mouth. That’s what conifers experience when the soil freezes during the winter months.
The solution is called an antidesiccant spray.
Antidesiccants (also sometimes known as anti-transpirants) provide a protective, natural polymer coating to the foliage of conifers in order to help reduce the amount of moisture which escapes during the winter months.
Because conifers don’t lose their foliage the way deciduous trees do, moisture is continuously lost throughout the year. The process by which trees lose moisture through their foliage is known as transpiration, where water vapor is released from the leaves or needles through small pores called stomates.
Antidesiccants are produced naturally and gradually degrade over several months, so come the spring, not a trace of the coating remains and the tree can emerge from dormancy in optimal health with no residual damage from the product.
We’re still early in the winter season so there’s still time to help protect your conifer trees from drying out due to a lack of proper moisture. Give SavATree a call today to schedule a free consultation.