Caring for Your Trees in the Winter Months – Part 2

Landscape maintenance in Minnesota doesn’t stop when the snow flies.  There are still things you should be doing in winter.  If you’ve got trees in your yard, check out Part 1 of this post, recently published.   We’ve got some additional tips to add to that information.  Not only can you help your trees stay protected during these winter months, but you’re able to care for them so they’ll be flourishing in the spring.

Prevent Breaking Branches 

12dec29e5a14Tree branches sometimes break throughout the winter months. This happens when the snow and the ice form on the tips of them and put too much pressure on them. This then holds the branches down and slowly weakens them, which can cause a problem for the tree. Eventually the branch will break.  Wind, in addition to the ice and snow, can cause breaks as well.  Protecting your trees from winter stress is important to keep them healthy throughout the winter and in good shape to come to life again in the spring.  If you’ve got trees that are exposed to high winds, consider putting up a wind break or structure to deflect or at least minimize winds.  And don’t hesitate to prune a sagging branch.  If it’s already weakened, it’s going to break anyway, so you’re better off pruning it and making a clean cut rather than run the risk of an ugly break that could take out a whole section of your tree.

It’s also a good idea to go out with a broom after a heavy snowfall and remove accumulated snow from tree branches.

Keep Rodents from Feasting on Your Trees

Mice, deer, rabbits and squirrels can all become a problem during the winter months when they are rummaging throughout the tree for food to feed themselves and their families. This can lead them to chewing off the bark of the trees and causing future damage. If all the bark gets chewed off, your tree has become ‘girdled,’ and you’ll need the help of a tree expert for it to recover.

But your yard doesn’t have to be Old Country Buffet for wildlife.  There are a few options that you can use. Setting up traps below the tree can help, or wrap wire mesh (hardware cloth) around the trunks. Flexible drainage piping works as well.  Make sure your protective wrap extends up to the lowest set of branches.  There is a spray on repellent that is sold in stores that can be applied right to the trunk of the tree.  Also, whenever you’re out shoveling your sidewalks, remove the snow from around your trees as well.  That makes them less attractive to mice and voles, and rabbits won’t be able to get to the low-hanging branches.

Keep an eye on your trees this winter.  And if you feel like your yard could use a little help, it is never too early to start planning for trees that can be put in your yard. Plan during the winter months so you can get a start on the changes come the spring time.  We love winter – that’s when we get to sit with our clients, talk about their landscape dreams, and get the ball rolling for turning those visions into reality come spring.  We are currently offering free initial in-home design consultations, so why not call us today to schedule an appointment?  We are a licensed MN landscaping contractor serving the entire Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, as well as surrounding communities.  We offer custom landscape design and installation.