Fall Tree Care: Getting Your Trees Ready for the Winter Ahead
Fall tree care is essential to strengthening your trees before the frigid Michigan winter. While trees may seem huge and sturdy, they do sometimes need us to protect them. Here are a few fall tree care tips that will help set your trees up for success, ensuring they bounce back next spring healthy and ready to thrive.
Protection From the Elements
Winter here in Michigan brings with it snow, cold, and dry wind. The elements cause a lot of problems for our trees and shrubs. Here are a few fall tree care tips to keep your investments healthy and thriving this winter.
Adding mulch around your trees and shrubs is one of the best things you can do for them in the fall. Mulch will protect the roots from fluctuating temperatures, conserve moisture, keep the weeds at bay, and protect your trees from lawnmower damage.
For best results, use an organic mulch like wood chips or bark. Apply no more than 3 inches of mulch around the base of your tree and avoid piling it up against the trunk.
Wrap Your Evergreens
The dry winds of winter suck the moisture right out of your trees and shrubs. Evergreens are affected the most and may require protection over the winter. Another winter problem for trees is sunscald. Sunscald happens when temperatures on the bark fluctuate throughout the day during the winter, causing the tissue to become active. When the sun goes away, the temperatures drop back to freezing and cause damage to the active tissue.
Protect your trees from sunscald and moisture-wicking wind this winter by wrapping them with burlap or tree wrap. It’s important to use a light-colored tree wrap, as dark tree wraps will just absorb the sunlight and can still cause sunscald. These wraps will help retain moisture and keep a consistent temperature on the bark.
Protection From Animals
Animals can cause damage to trees and shrubs all year long. Whether it be from deer rubbings or opportunistic voles and rabbits, we need to protect our trees. Here are a few ways to protect your trees and shrubs from animals this winter.
Voles and Rabbits
Some of the most destructive animals to trees over the winter are actually quite small. Voles, rabbits, and even mice will feed on tree bark throughout the winter. These tiny creatures, when not controlled, can even girdle a tree. This is when the bark is gnawed away around the entire circumference of the tree. Tree girdling results in the death of the tree over time.
The best way to prevent tree girdling from voles and rabbits is by wrapping a tree guard around the trunk. Make sure the guard is above the snowline and buried about 2 inches under the soil. You can prevent these creatures from invading your yard by mowing your lawn short at the end of the season and removing any brush. Make sure you aren’t piling mulch up against the trunk either as this provides easy access to your tree.
Deer can cause damage to trees throughout the entire year. In particular, fall is known for tree rubbing. Deer will rub their antlers against trees to remove the velvet. Unfortunately, this scrapes away the bark, damaging the tree. In the winter, when food is scarce, deer will feed on tree branches. You can prevent deer damage by putting up barriers around your trees. Investing in a deer repellent to spray on your trees and shrubs is a good idea as well.
Before the ground freezes, it’s important to keep your trees watered. This is especially true for young trees. As the temperatures drop and the trees get ready to go dormant, they focus all of their growth into their roots. In order to foster this growth and help strengthen the tree before winter, it’s important to give the trees one inch of water every week. This can come from rainfall or from manual watering. Either way, your trees need to drink.
Thinking of Adding or Removing a Tree? Call the Pros.
Here at PPM Tree & Arbor Care, we are the experts in tree planting, trimming, cabling, and removing. If you have a tree on your property that could use a little TLC, or if it’s becoming a hazard, it’s time to call in the pros.
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