The fall season is a great time to plant new trees on your property. This provides the tree with an extra growing season before the stress of summer heat and drought conditions become a reality. This additional time allows the tree to establish a robust route system while gradually introducing it to its new environment.
But between the fall and the spring is yet another challenging season which can prove stressful for newly planted trees – winter.
While precipitation will certainly provide surface moisture and less evaporation due to colder temperatures, frozen soil can mean the absence of deep root watering during the winter months. That is why drought stress is usually the number one reason why newly planted trees often die.
Allowing the soil around trees to freeze while dry will repel natural moisture rather than allow it to reach the tree’s root system. This will directly damage your root system during dormancy. Conversely, keeping the soil moist beneath the surface ensures active root growth for a healthy and beautiful tree in the future.
It’s important to remember that newly planted trees are essentially in what is known as transplant shock.
According to certified arborists at Purdue University, “Transplant shock is a term that refers to a number of stresses occurring in recently transplanted trees and shrubs. It involves failure of the plant to root well, consequently the plant becomes poorly established in the landscape. New transplants do not have extensive root systems, and they are frequently stressed by lack of sufficient water. Plants suffering from water stress may be more susceptible to injury from other causes such as the weather, insects, or disease.”
Therefore, during the winter months – the dormant season – while newly planted trees require less watering, they still need some watering in order to help them through the season. Plan on approximately five to ten minutes of water a few times a week during the winter months. ONLY water if the temperature is above 40 degrees for maximum penetration.
For newly planted tree care, it’s best to wrap their trunks to protect them from the harshness of winter weather. There are different materials that can be used to wrap your trees, but the most common are burlap, plastic, paper, or vinyl. Rope, duct tape, plastic ties, or twine are ideal for keeping the wrapping in place – just make sure not to make them too tight.
Wrapping your trees not only protects them from the cold but also protects them from sunscald. Sunscald occurs when the sun heats up the bark on cold days and causes the tree cells to come out of dormancy. When the temperature drops below freezing again, the active cells are then killed, damaging the tree.
Caring for your newly planted trees in winter is not difficult. But it does require your attention to make sure they emerge healthy and strong come the spring.
For more information on caring for your trees in winter or to schedule tree service, contact SavATree today.