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Expert Contribution

How to Avoid Winter Damage

By Mike Bradley
Bradley Tree Experts
Marple Friends & Neighbors, November 2022

Are you looking to protect your trees and shrubs from the elements this winter? If extreme winter weather has taken a toll on your trees in the past, you aren’t alone. Each year in regions hit by bitter cold winter weather, gardeners do their yearly spring check and discover all of the damage the winter has wrought. Here are four steps you can take now that can make all the difference.

  1. Wrap – Warm winter sun can cause the cells in your tree trunks to come out of dormancy and become active. When temperatures drop below freezing again, the newly active cells and tissue within the trees can be killed, causing an injury that may result in scarring. Wrap tree trunks (especially saplings) in burlap or a light-colored crepe paper wrap made specifically for wrapping trees, in order to protect them from this warming and freezing scenario
  2. Mulch Types – Covering the area around your trees with plenty of mulch prevents winter root injury, by slowing down the daytime thawing and nighttime freezing process that occurs in late fall and early winter. Mulch traps soil moisture and warmth, so your tree and plant roots can continue their growth farther into the winter months. Mulch depth should be between 2-3 inches for smaller mulch, and 3-4 inches for larger mulch.
  3. Water – You should definitely water trees in the winter, but do it when the temperature  is above 40 degrees and when there is no snow cover on the ground. Watering your trees is essential during dry periods in the fall, winter and early spring, when you aren’t watering your lawn regularly so your trees aren’t getting that residual hydration. 
  4. Fertilize – Believe it or not, winter is the right time of year to start fertilizing your trees for new growth in the spring.The reason is that you want the tree to have time to soak up all those nutrients and start metabolizing them, before the spring growth begins.

These simple steps can save you time, money and headaches come spring when you don’t have to replace your trees.


About The Author

Tree Care and Inspection
Mike Bradley
Bradley Tree Experts
610-325-8600

Bradley Tree Experts is a family-owned and operated business based in Broomall, PA. For over 40 years, long-time Marple Newtown resident Mike Bradley, Owner of Bradley Tree Experts, has been servicing Delaware County and the Main Line. From tree pruning to tree removal, stump grinding and firewood, Bradley Tree has you covered. All estimates are free and are done by Mike Bradley, so you’ll know you’re getting the most knowledgeable person in the company and he can answer any questions you may have. Mike and his crew specialize in spotless clean-up, and they go that extra mile to protect customers’ property while completing each job. Looking for firewood? We have it available for delivery year-round! At Bradley Tree Experts, we are “Large Enough to Serve, Small Enough to Care!”

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