5 Tips to Prepare Your Trees for Winter

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A tree covered in snow during the winter

Colorado's long, cold winters can be hard on your landscape. That's why we put together some tips to help you prepare your tree for winter.

Water

Water your tree deeply and regularly throughout the autumn months. This will help your tree slowly absorb all of the moisture, allowing it to stay healthy throughout the winter and avoiding problems like drought stress. 

But be careful not to overwater your tree, as this can lead to issues such as root rot. Colorado State Forest Services recommend "water slowly, with a sprinkler or soaker hose, at the rate of 10 gallons per inch of tree diameter."

Fertilize

Fertilizing a tree in the fall is an important step in maintaining its health and vigor. By giving it the nutrients it needs, you can help it withstand the rigors of winter and encourage strong growth in the spring. There are a few things to keep in mind when fertilizing a tree in the fall, however.

  • Be sure to use a fertilizer that is specifically designed for trees. This type of fertilizer will have a higher concentration of nutrients than regular garden fertilizer, which is important for trees that are growing in less-than-ideal conditions.
  • Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the tree, rather than directly onto the leaves or branches. This will help to prevent the leaves from burning.
  • Water the tree well after applying the fertilizer, to help it absorb the nutrients.

Prune

Fall is a great time to prune your trees. Not only will they be less likely to experience shock, but you'll also be able to see the structure of the tree more clearly. Here are a few tips on how to prune your trees in the fall:

  • Start by removing any dead or diseased branches. These can be identified by their lack of leaves or discoloration.
  • Next, thin out the canopy of the tree. This will help to promote new growth and allow more light to reach the inner parts of the tree.
  • Finally, cut back any branches that are rubbing against each other or growing in an unnatural direction.

Add Mulch

Adding mulch to the base of your trees in the fall can help protect the roots from the cold winter weather. It can also help to keep in moisture, helping your tree stay hydrated throughout the winter.

To help winterize your tree, spread at least 2 to 3 inches of mulch, consisting of wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of your tree. Make sure to leave a few inches around the base, allowing the root flare to remain exposed. You should spread the mulch as far as the outer circumference of the tree branches for proper coverage, though this may vary depending on the type and age of the tree.

Wrap The Trunk

By wrapping the trunk of your tree, you can protect it from damage caused by things like wind, sun, and ice. Trunk wraps also help to keep the bark from drying out and cracking, which can lead to problems with the tree's health.

You can wrap your tree in burlap, polypropylene fabric, or with white plastic tree guards, but the most important thing is to make sure that the wrap is snug and secure. You don't want it to be too loose, as this could allow elements to get underneath and cause damage. Likewise, you don't want it to be too tight, as this could cut off the tree's circulation and lead to problems. The best way to find the right fit is to experiment a bit and see what works best for your tree.

Once you have the wrap in place, be sure to check on it regularly. This will help you to make sure that it is still doing its job and that the tree is healthy. Remember to remove the wrapping in the spring!

Call Tree Care Professionals

Whether you feel like you don't have the time or experience, our team of tree care technicians is here to help. We offer comprehensive winter tree care that focuses specifically on helping your ornamentals withstand Colorado winters. 

If you are looking for professional tree winterization, check out our tree services:

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