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Preparing Trees for Winter

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With our first snowfall already happening, winter is quickly approaching. When you think of winter, the first things you may choose to inspect or prepare are your boilers/furnaces, windows and doors, insulation, thermostats, and gutters. Upon preparing and inspecting all these things, you can peacefully sit down and be toasty warm by the fire. However, you have not inspected or prepared a crucial component of your property, your winter trees.

Before Jack Frost can bite your trees, take these preemptive steps towards inspecting and preparing your winter trees:

Wrap the Trunk

Young thin-barked trees like a honey locust, maple, and linden are susceptible to sunscald and frost cracks because of drastic winter temperature fluctuations. To prevent bark damage, wrap the trunks of younger trees up to the first branches using commercial tree wrap. Leave the wrap on until early April.

Mulch the base

Apply 2 to 4 inches of wood chips, bark, or other organic mulch near the base of the winter tree, but not against it, to reduce soil evaporation, improve water absorption and insulate against temperature extremes. Which during Wisconsin winters, we are exposed to numerous temperature extremes.

If you’re wondering how you can acquire wood chips for your property, some community recycling programs provide wood chips free of charge.

Recycle Leaves

Instead of disposing of autumn leaves, consider layering them around the base of each tree as mulch, or blend them into the yard with a mulching mower to retain the nutrients they produce.

Give Them a Good Drink

Before storing your garden hose for winter, water trees in the area extending from the trunk to the length of the longest branches. Water slowly, with a sprinkler or soaker hose at the rate of 10 gallons per inch of tree diameter. For more information on watering techniques, visit our How Properly and Effectively Water Your Tree blog.

Focus on Younger Trees

When preparing your trees for winter, focus on younger trees with a less-extensive root system, as these trees require the most care.


Winter is the best time for pruning most tree species. The most common reasons for pruning are to remove dead branches, improve tree form, and protect your home from falling branches.

Winter Got You Down?

If winter has already got you down about examining and inspecting your trees, give one of our certified arborists a call; and even if it hasn’t got you down, but you want to ensure your winter trees are receiving nothing but the utmost care, give us a call. We at Wachtel Tree Science perform consults to inspect your property and provide you with the necessary steps to ensure your tree’s survival all winter long.

Remember, while you’re all cozied up by the fireplace sipping on hot chocolate, your tree should be cozied up to tackle Jack Frosts winter wind.

2020-09-24T14:18:09-05:00 November 20th, 2019|