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How to protect your trees and shrubs in the winter

Planting new trees in your yard is a great way to create future shade, perhaps enjoy delicious fruit, or add some beauty to your property. Trees are also invaluably important to combatting climate change and providing homes for various urban wildlife. While most trees and shrubs do very well during Manitoba’s springs, summers, and falls, our harsh winters can often harm and even kill saplings, as well as older, more established trees.

Here’s how you can protect your trees and shrubs during the long, cold winters.

Prune Them

Having your trees regularly pruned during the proper pruning seasons will help keep them free of deadwood, which can become potentially hazardous as heavy snow and ice accumulates. Trees need to be pruned specifically for their species, which will help keep them healthy and prevent over-trimming.

Always contact a professional arborist like Kildonan Tree Service to properly prune your trees and shrubs to ensure their health and longevity.

Wrap them up

Burlap is the de facto winter coat for your coniferous trees and shrubs. It helps prevent ice build-up, as well as damaging winds from drying out and destroying branches. Even Manitoba Hydro recommends burlap for your evergreens, but it’s not as simple as wrapping your trees or shrubs up like burritos.

Instead of placing the fabric directly onto your conifer’s needles and branches, attach it to wooden stakes and wrap it around the tree or shrub so that it’s not quite touching the foliage. This way, if snow or ice accumulates, it’s not sitting directly on the tree, and it also offers a better wind barrier.

Water them well

Trees need to be well-watered before winter. Make sure they’re properly hydrated all summer, especially during long spells without rain, and then decrease how often you water throughout the autumn as temperatures fall.

It’s also important to water your trees and shrubs before the ground freezes so that it can be as effective as possible without unintentionally damaging roots with ice.

Insulate them

To protect their roots, add a layer of mulch to the soil around your trees and shrubs. This works twofold: it helps to insulate and regulate the soil temperature, which decreases moisture loss, and it aids in preventing heaving in the soil.

As soil freezes and thaws, it expands and contracts, which can damage roots and can actually uproot your young trees or shrubs. 2 to 3 inches of mulch is recommended, to be applied in late fall or early winter.

Protect them from the sun

Believe it or not, the winter sun is especially rough on your young trees and shrubs. Long periods without cloud cover can cause growth activity from the warmth, especially during those random periods when Winnipeg sees unseasonably warm weather.

The problem is that the abrupt return to colder weather kills the active sections of the tree, damaging it and potentially stunting future growth. This is referred to as “sunscalding,” and you can combat it by wrapping your trees in commercial tree guard, which not only protects them from the sun, but also prevent opportunistic wildlife from gnawing on the tender bark.

Call the pros

Whether you need tree care advice, pruning, removal, or equipment, it’s always best to let certified, experienced arborists handle it. At Kildonan Tree Service, we have decades of experience serving Winnipeg and the surrounding area, and we can help your trees stay healthy all winter long, throughout the rest of the year, and for many years to come.

Call us today at 204-233-9337 or request an online quote.