Last year Casey provided us with tips for protecting trees through winter. He’s updated his suggestions for 2012. Even though it’s been mild so far, you never know when snow might show up!
Winter can be a harsh season, especially for newly planted trees. Here are some small steps to help ensure your trees’ survival.
- Snow and ice can weigh down branches, increasing the likelihood of them breaking. Gently knock off snow or ice from tree branches, especially evergreens.
- Avoid using rock salt and prevent salt from getting in the tree pit. Rock salt (sodium chloride), or de-icing mixes that contain rock salt, prohibits a tree’s finer roots from absorbing water, nutrients, and oxygen.
- I would recommend using a product called Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) instead of normal salt deicers. CMA is a combination of dolomitic lime (limestone), magnesium and acetic acid the same acid that is found in vinegar and is less harmful to plants. Additional suggestions can be found on the Plant One Million website: here.
- Remove any Treegator bags (or similar products) for the duration of winter. This helps prevent ice buildup around the trunk and keeps over-wintering rodents away.
- Do not leave holiday lights tied around trees year-round as it can end up girdling the tree.
- Remove dead or broken branches. Although I don’t recommend heavy pruning on newly planted trees, there is no harm in removing branches that are already dead.
- Refresh your mulch in the early spring.
If the weather has you stir-crazy, try identifying your trees. It can be tough to do this time of year, but the challenge is what makes it fun. For help, check out this cool reference!