Harsh Winter: 6 Ways to Protect Your Newly Planted Trees

The country is facing one of the harshest winters in history.  With temperatures in the negatives, news media are warning people to cover up.  We can cover up in sweaters, and protect are skin against frostbite, but what about our poor plants and trees?  At least 20 deaths have been attributed to the recent cold front, but what about tree deaths?  The number of trees and plants that won’t make it through the winter will be much higher.

If you have planted new trees, your investment is especially at risk in harsh weather.  These six steps will help you protect your newly planted trees:

1) Buy Tree Wrap

You can buy tree wrap at your local nursery or home improvement store (Home Depot/Lowes)  new trees need to be wrapped for two winters.  Thin barkedtrees like maple trees should be wrapped for five winters.  You can/should unwrap them after winter.

Watch this tree wrap video for helpful instructions

2) Apply Burlap or Boughs

You can protect your evergreen trees from the cold, dry air by applying burlap or boughs on the areas exposed to wind.  Often this is the southern face of your tree.

3) Mulch Mulch Mulch

Add a layer of about 4 to 8 inches (10.2 to 20.3 cm) of mulch around the base of your new tree.  Be careful not to let the mulch touch the trunk of your tree.  To make sure of this, spread the mulch out at least 2 feet (0.61 m)  from the trunk. Mulch will protect your tree’s surrounding soil from frost and help provide moisture for your tree’s root system by retaining water.

4) Water

During a winter as harsh as this one the ground freezes preventing new trees from accessing water.  Newly planted trees do not have a root system capable of reaching water deep below the ground surface.  Provide adequate water at the root ball of newly planted trees to ensure they access enough water.

5) Keep Animals at Bay

Animals love to chew on tree bark during the winter.  This is especially dangerous to trees weakened by the harsh weather.  You can protect your trees from this damage by installing a plastic tree guard or other hardware specifically made for trees around the bottom of your tree and approximately 1 foot (0.3 m) higher than the average snow level.

6) Tie Center Branches

Fallen snow can cause irreparable damage to your newly planted tree.  To prevent the splitting and breaking caused by ice build up from winter storms, tie any center branches together loosely with twine.  This is especially important if you have any evergreen trees (with foliage year round, they are more susceptible to holding snow and ice).  When spring finally arrives, prune any damaged branches to prevent disease or additional breakage.

As always treecare is important.  If you do not take tree care seriously you can end up loosing the hundreds to thousands of dollars you have invested on your landscaping.  McKinley Arborists can help you take care of your beloved trees, old or new.  Give us a call or email us today for more vital tree services.