Preparing Your Trees for Winter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2012
Trees for Winter
drought ravaged summer was extremely hard on our trees", says Candice Miller, University
of Illinois horticulture educator serving Boone, DeKalb & Ogle counties.
have been suffering all summer long from drought stress and extreme heat. As a
result it's particularly important this year that we prepare trees for winter
by utilizing a couple of different methods," Miller said.
in particular should be a large concern. The problem facing evergreens is desiccation,
or drying out from the wind or sun. It's going to be most important that
evergreens are well watered up until the ground freezes. According to Miller,"Since
evergreens do not drop their leaves like deciduous trees, they are still living
and breathing throughout the winter and need to be able to uptake water as a
Shrubs in very exposed sites may benefit from
additional watering and protection as well. Several options for protection include
loosely wrapping with burlap, putting up a snow fence or other type of
windbreak, or using commercially available anti-transpirants, which are
wax-like materials sprayed on plants late in the fall to help prevent drying
out. These work especially well on broadleaf evergreens which tend to suffer
greatly from desiccation some years.
"Another winter problem plaguing trees is
sunscald," noted Miller. Sunscald occurs when sunlight heats up the south and
southwest side of deciduous tree trunks. This causes cells to come out of
dormancy and become active. After sunset or as weather changes, temperatures
may drop below freezing. This temperature drop kills active cells and
conductive tissue causing injury that may appear later as sunken and discolored
bark. Frost cracking can also occur as a result of this warming and freezing of
Sunscald can be managed by using commercial tree
wraps which are made of crepe paper and help to insulate the bark. In late
October or early November, wrap trunks upward from the base of the tree to a
point just above the lowest branches. This is typically done on younger trees
until they are able to develop thicker bark to serve as protection. These trunk
guards should be of a light color so that they can reflect sunlight during
winter thereby reducing the temperature on the bark. Be sure to remove tree
wrap and tape the following April to avoid girdling and possible insect damage.
The wrap on the tree in the photo was removed too late!
feeding of rabbits and voles may also be of concern. Putting up a barrier, such
as chicken wire or hardware cloth, is really the easiest and best defense for
trees. Put a fence around shrubs and put a loose cylinder of hardware cloth
around the trunk base of younger trees susceptible to vole or rabbit gnawing.
Removing excess vegetation and debris near plants will also help reduce cover,
especially for voles.
your trees for winter may be an additional amount of work, but the payoff of
having a healthy tree next spring is definitely worth it," said Miller.
Source: Candice Miller, Extension Educator, Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org