American Tree Experts

What Is Winter Tree Damage And How To Prevent It?

Explore the perils of winter – A guide on ‘what’ winter tree damage is and ‘how’ to thwart it!

While trees are generally resilient and stay dormant during winter, they are susceptible to damage from harsh winter conditions. Frost, ice, and dry air during the colder months can adversely affect various tree species. Excessive winter damage may lead to struggles for survival, even as the warmer months approach. This article provides information about tree damage to help you identify potential issues.

Snow Damage To Roots

  • Extreme cold temperatures can be harmful to tree roots. As the soil temperature drops fairly low, the roots begin to damage and eventually die. Moist soil holds heat better than dry soil. Therefore, it is better to water your trees properly in the fall. Mulch your trees before winter, and pay particular attention to young and shallow-rooted trees.

Frost heaving can expose the tree roots to cold air. Therefore, it is a good idea to lay a 2-4 inch layer of mulch under trees. Mulch will act as an insulator to protect the tree from cold. However, it is better to avoid mulching around the trunk. Otherwise, the mice may use it as shelter.

Damaged Caused by Temperature Fluctuations

  • Plants undergo dormancy in winter, shedding leaves and greenery, but trees remain exposed to the cold. However, it’s not the extreme cold that harms trees the most. It’s the rapid temperature fluctuations.

Gradual changes allow trees to acclimate, but sudden shifts, especially from warm to extremely cold, can cause significant damage. A mostly mild winter with a sudden cold snap can be more devastating than a consistently cold one. Understanding these temperature dynamics is crucial for protecting trees during the winter season.

Impact of Low Temperatures

  • A tree’s response to low temperatures is tied to its species and the climate zone. Native and hardy trees are accustomed to specific climate zones, so low temperatures pose minimal risk. These trees are naturally equipped to withstand the temperatures they encounter. However, non-native trees may suffer damage in climates beyond their natural range.

Consider planting less hardy trees in slightly shaded areas, such as around your house, a barn, or other trees. Statistics show that temperature fluctuations pose a more significant risk to non-native trees than extreme cold. However, except for very young trees, simple cold temperatures are unlikely to lead to a tree’s demise. Understanding these distinctions aids in effective tree management during winter.

Damage Caused By Snow and Ice

winter tree damage

However, if the snow is frozen in place, avoid attempting removal, as it may cause more harm than good. Ice, on the other hand, can be more problematic for trees. While regular icing is usually well-tolerated by native trees, severe ice storms may result in cracks and damage. Attempting to force ice off a tree can be detrimental. It’s advisable to let it melt naturally to prevent additional harm. You can take proactive measures to protect your trees during winter by differentiating the impact of snow and ice.

At American Tree Experts Inc., we offer the best services to keep your plants out of harm’s way. Our other most sought-after services are pruning, bracing, pest management, and nutritional management. We offer services in Mont Clair, New Jersey. Call us at (973) 744-6091 for a free quote.

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