It can be difficult to know when the first frost of the year will arrive, especially with Georgia’s unpredictable weather. The heat of August often overshadows the near arrival of the fall, but a sudden drop in temperatures can occur as early as mid-October. Property owners who are caught unaware may suffer tree loss or severe damage as a result. At 404-CUT-TREE, we offer professional residential and commercial tree service in Atlanta, Decatur, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Brookhaven, Marietta, Buckhead, Duluth, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Doraville, Milton, Tucker, Norcross and other nearby metro area communities. We enjoy helping our clients achieve the healthiest trees possible, and we want to see similar results from your landscaping efforts. Here are a few tips for preparing your trees for the upcoming winter season.
Common Tree Care Issues in Winter
Winter tree care problems can come in many forms. Nutrient deficiencies, over-exposure to sunlight, winter winds, extreme temperatures, severe storms, and other common seasonal occurrences can quickly kill or maim your favorite ornamental or shade tree. No matter how young or old, no matter the variety of tree, all of your trees are all potentially susceptible to problems that lead to unhealthy conditions. For example:
- Broken branches and limbs due to heavy snow and ice.
- Salt damage from nearby sidewalks, walkways, driveways, and streets.
- Pests and wildlife like deer and rodents eating vital portions of the tree’s structure due to seasonal food shortages.
- Bleached evergreen foliage.
- Damage to bark, branches, roots or flower buds due to freezing temperatures.
Avoiding Root Damage
There are a number of steps property owners can take to prepare against root damage. Owners can temporarily mulch new shrubs or trees with up to 6 inches of straw, wood chips, or similar materials. Excessively dry weather leading up to the first days of frost can increase the chances of root damage, so watering the ground in the weeks before the first drop of temperate is expected can reduce the amount or severity of problems suffered in the months ahead. Cracks in the soil can provide a direct pathway for cold air to reach vulnerable roots; if you see cracks forming in the area around your tree, patch them up with soil.
Reducing Injuries from Exposure
While heavy snowfall may seem like a problem for trees, the right amount of soft snow can serve as a protective barrier against sun and ice damage. Unfortunately, there are many times and places in the southern United States where there’s less snow and more ice, sleet, and dry freezing temperatures. In these instances, tree owners need to be aware of the danger that over-exposure to sun and ice pose to trees. Tree wraps and insulating tree blankets can help small ornamental trees and shrubs or young tree saplings escape the harsher consequences of sun scalding, wind exposure, and frost. Proper pruning and tree care in the fall can help to reduce the amount of dieback in the following season.
Keeping Pests at Bay
Food can become much more scarce for wild animals during the winter. Wildlife might be drawn to your trees for protection and survival. Twigs, stems, leaves, and bark can provide an adequate source of nutrients for animals like rabbits, deer, and mice. Unfortunately, their winter nibbling can lead to scarring, hollowing, root damage, insect infiltration, and other crippling conditions. If you live on a large property or are located near a forested area, you will likely need to be vigilant in defending your tree from creatures who are looking for a warm place to curl up. Tall grass, piles of brush, and other structures left near your tree can make the perfect shelter. Try to keep grass cut short and remove any debris or items which can harbor pests or encourage animals to visit. In some cases, certain species of animals are protected, and homeowners will need to use a repellent or physical barriers to avoid problems.
Need a Certified Arborist in Atlanta, GA or Nearby City? Call 404-CUT-TREE Today
Is it time for you to prepare your trees for the coming cold season? Then call the professionals at 404-CUT-TREE. Our certified arborists and tree care professionals provide a variety of services, including tree risk assessments, pruning, trimming, and tree removal. Contact our office for more information or to schedule your next appointment.