Preparing Trees for Winter

When the temperatures drop, your trees go dormant for the winter. Winter tree care and preparation is more than just a matter of raking the leaves that fall. You can (and should) take measures to protect your trees from the harsh winter weather, and encourage true growth in the spring. Just a few simple actions will help your trees survive and thrive.

If you can’t fit tree care into your schedule, hiring a local tree service will ensure your trees stay healthy and safe through the seasonal changes.

Winter tree preparation tips

Here are some easy tips to help get your trees ready for the cold weather:

  • Focus primarily on younger trees: Your younger trees are the most vulnerable to Colorado’s wind, snow and ice. Although all of your trees can use some care, focus the bulk of your attention on younger trees.
  • Mulch the tree’s base: Mulch is a great way to prevent water evaporation, improve water and nutrient absorption and insulate your trees. Apply two to four inches of an organic mulch (some places offer wood chips for free) around the base of your tree. Try not to let the mulch touch the trunk itself.
  • Wrap tree trunks: You’re not the only one who can stand to wear a sweater in the winter. Wrapping your tree trunks with commercially available wrap protects them from frost cracks and sun scalding as the temperatures fluctuate. This is particularly important for thin-barked trees like maple and linden.
  • Prune in the winter: Your tree should be dormant before you prune it back—which means you can wait until the winter to take on this task. Removing dead branches will help the tree’s regrowth in the spring, and can also help fashion a nicer-looking canopy. Only prune the branches that really need to go. Snip just outside the branch collar, where the branch joins a larger one. Alternatively, let a reliable local tree service handle this task.
  • Recycle the leaves: When your tree starts dropping leaves, you don’t have to dump them all in your yard waste can. Instead, consider using them as mulch for your tree’s base. You can also blend them into your yard with the help of a mower.
  • Fertilize your trees: Fall is the perfect time to nourish your trees with slow-release fertilizer. Over the winter, the soil can lose nutrients. Fertilization will help your trees get through the colder months and ward off disease.
  • Water thoroughly before winter: Finally, make sure you water the tree one last time before disconnecting your hose. Slowly give it about 10 gallons per inch of tree diameter. If your tree’s trunk is 10 inches in diameter, that means you’ll soak the ground with 100 gallons of water.

Keeping your trees healthy throughout the winter is important to encourage abundant growth in spring. If you’re not sure how to best care for your particular varieties, working with a local tree service can help. Rocky Mountain Tree Service is happy to provide tree trimming, removal and more. Call us today for help with your winter tree preparation and care.