MN Landscape Maintenance Tips: Caring for Your Trees in the Winter Months – Part 1

When it comes to the cold winter months, the frost, the ice, the snow and harsh winds will come blowing in throughout Minnesota, and there is little you can do about it. Taking care of the trees in your yard is essential to do.   You cannot control the weather, but you can control how your trees take to it, if you respond quick enough.

How to Prevent Cold Stress on Trees

Cold stress is a problem that causes the bark and inner parts of the tree to crack and wear down. Not only do they look much older than they are, but when this happens they lose a lot of nutrients. It happens mostly on the side of the tree that gets the most winter sunlight. The thawing and warmth of the day time, followed by the frost and cold ice of the night, causes the tree to become brittle.

Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to stop this breaking and cracking on trees. You want to take the most precaution for younger trees and saplings that were just planted. One of the best recommendations is to wrap the bark and trunk of the tree up tightly. This can help keep the warmth in, while protecting it from the outside ice and snow elements. This is also a great way to hold in a lot of the moisture.  If you haven’t done this to your trees already, it’s a good idea to handle it on the next stretch of warmer weather.

Pruning your trees when they have gone dormant can help them prepare for the frost ahead. The ice that forms on the tips of the branches are able to break them off if not properly cared for in the beginning months.   If you haven’t already pruned your trees, winter can be a great time to do this.  If you notice branches or parts of the the tree that are cracked or sagging, lopping them off now could prevent major damage later.

Drought is a common problem for trees throughout the winter months, surprisingly. You would think with all the snow, they wouldn’t have a problem. However, the snow sits on the top of the ground and does not go through to provide the water to the roots. One way to slow down the usage of the water is to properly insulate the bottom of the trunk using mulch. This will keep water retention in and slow down the process of having the trees dry out.  It’s best to do this before the ground freezes, but you can still minimize water loss now.  Here in Minnesota we often get a ‘January thaw,’ and this would be a great time to give your trees some added water, and then mulch around the base to help the ground retain it.

Yes, there are still some landscaping maintenance tasks that need to be done in the winter, but for most of our clients it’s the season when plans are made for spring.  When you’re ready to start planning your landscape design, speak with us here at Architectural Landscape Design. We can help you plan in the winter, so you’re ready to go in the spring. We can also give you awesome tips on how to care for your new landscaping.

For a free initial design consultation, give us a call at 952.292.7717.  And while you’re waiting for us to show up, why not visit our Pinterest site for some inspiration?  If you see an idea you like, we can talk about making it work for your home.  Architectural Landscape Design is a licensed MN landscape design and installation contractor.  We serve Minneapolis, St. Paul, greater Minnesota, and western Wisconsin.