How To Protect Your New Trees in Harsh WNY Winters

 In Arborist, Arborist Buffalo NY, Education, Plant Healthcare, Tree Consulting

Spring blooms. Summer shade. Fall foliage. Trees provide so much for us throughout the year, that for one season they ask for our help in staying healthy to make it to the next year. In winter, we shift from having our needs fulfilled by these silent giants to them asking “Can you protect new trees?”

I know, I know. The last thing we want to think about is the approaching Buffalo winter. But time marches on and the season is rapidly approaching. Today, we have a guide for you on how to protect your new trees against WNY’s winters.

How does the cold affect trees so much?

Well, winter provides harsh conditions that trees don’t like. For example, high winds at below-freezing temperatures and ice storms could weigh branches down and ultimately break them. 

The sun can also cause problems for new trees during winter. Think about it – on a chilly day, the heat from the sun stimulates new tissue growth of the tree, then a cloud comes in and covers up the sun, and that new growth tissue is killed.

Dryness is also a thing that can harm trees come winter. A dry season going into the winter can make trees more susceptible to cold damage. 

Trees in a forest standing tall on a crisp morning, new trees are getting ready to grow.

Four Tips to Protect New Trees in Winter

As we mentioned, let’s get into the actual guide. What tips can you use to protect your newly planted trees?

Tip 1) Water those trees

One potential issue that you can avoid though is that dryness. Make sure to adequately water your trees in October and November, before the ground starts freezing in winter. The root systems of newly planted trees aren’t fully developed yet or established enough to reach the water it needs. Trees are living things too and need water just like us.   If we luck out and don’t have a particularly harsh winter you could also do a little light watering during the season.

Tip 2) Wrapping to protect new trees

Young trees and trees with thinner barks benefit from being wrapped come winter. The possibility of sunscald is a threat that trees face. Sunscald is when the wun heats up the bark for a short period, then clouds move back in and plunge the trees into cold and darkness, cracking the bark and leaving it dry and exposed.

Generally, the rule is trees that lose leaves in the fall and have thin barks should be wrapped, as well as trees that just have thin barks that keep their leaves.

Tip 3) Mulch your new trees

Mulch can act as an insulator, keeping soil temperature higher than surrounding air temperatures. The mulch will also stop cold air from making its way to the root of your new trees, which could stunt or even eliminate growth.

Mulching should be done around the base of your trees. It should be spread 6-12 inches away from the trunk, in a layer of 4-inches thick. Ideally, you spread the mulch out to the drip line of the tree. Remember, when mulching, go out and not deeper! 

Tip 4) Tree Pruning 

The winter season is a great time to get a NY licensed arborist out to do some tree pruning. Tree pruning in WNY is done to remove dead, dying, or diseased branches and promote healthy new growth.  Pruning your trees keeps them healthy and happy. Getting your pruning done in the winter gives your tree some time to heal from the cuts before it begins its new growth in the spring.  We recently had a whole guide on tree pruning for you, make sure to look it over before making any cuts! 

This one isn’t so much a tip as it is a fun piece of trivia, but snow is typically very helpful for trees during winter. You wouldn’t think so because of the cold, but snow is a great insulator for your trees. The snow kind of acts like a down jacket, providing air pockets of trapped heat, keeping the tree warmer and its roots protected. Actually, a better comparison might be the igloo.

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Get in touch with the top licensed arborists the buffalo ny area has to offer by calling us today at 716.916.2193 or filling out a contact form. You can stay up-to-date with our blog, where we regularly post content such as guides and other arboreal-related things we do here! You can also follow the fun on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Bradley Tree and Landscaping is the best bunch of ISA-certified arborists in WNY and we’re always passionate to help and educate. Reach out today! 

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