Cold Weather Tips To Bring Trees & Shrubs Into the New Year

Here at Joshua Tree, we’re getting ready to say, “Goodbye,” to 2015 and “Hello,” to 2016. While there may be some old habits or items you’re willing to say a permanent goodbye to, established trees and shrubs shouldn’t fall into that category. And, with the cold weather that accompanies this time of year, you risk doing just that if you aren’t careful.

Remember These Cold Weather Tips To Bring Trees & Shrubs Into the New Year

winter tree care tipsHere are some cold weather reminders to help your landscape’s trees, shrubs and lawns make a safe and healthy transition from this year to the next.

Use De-Icing Products With Caution

Those same products you use to protect you and your family from slipping and falling can be detrimental to your lawns, plants and trees. When you’re shopping for de-icing products, look specifically for products that are plant- and pet-friendly. Use only as directed.

These products can be a little more expensive than traditional salt- and chemical-laden versions, but the extra amount you spend is nothing compared to the expense of replacing established lawns, trees and shrubs, not to mention the cost of a hefty vet bill.

Other tips for balancing slip-and-fall risks with tree health include:

  • Keep it out of plant beds. As much as you can, try to keep the de-icing products away from soil and plant beds.
  • Careful planning. This spring, think carefully about the areas you de-ice and what’s growing nearby. It may make sense to transplant vulnerable plants, and to grow next year’s new plants in “safe” zones.
  • Shovel first. If you can, shovel old snow and ice out of the way before the next storm hits, diminishing the amount of de-icing product you need to use.

Beware the Snow Plow

Watch out for the snow plow! When that snow plow driver is coming down the street, your street-side landscape is trembling in its boots. All that compacted snow and ice is heavy, and it really adds up plow run after plow run.

Again, this is an area where landscape planning comes into place. Take pictures of the deepest wake of the snow plow wall this winter and hang onto it. It will give you a good boundary line for next year’s plantings, including the lawn. Maybe it’s time to do a nice mulch or rock border?

If some of your current plants or trees are heavily affected, try to get out there or hire a local teenage boy, to dig around the vulnerable entity to save it from permanent damage. You may determine a transplant is in order in the spring to avoid more permanent damage next year. 

Protect Your Evergreens With an Anti-Desicant Spray

Some trees are more vulnerable to cold than others, and many evergreens and shrubs are a prime example. When the ground freezes, roots can no longer take up any water so the plants begin to use the water stored in their leaves. This can lead to severe dehydration – regardless of how much snow and rain has fallen.

An anti-desicant spray is applied on a warmer winter day, and provides a protective coating that keeps the leaves from losing too much water through evaporation, saving every last drop for the plant. Over the course of the winter, the spray will wash off and your tree will be thankful. An arborist can let you know which trees and shrubs will benefit from anti-desicant sprays and which ones could be damaged by them.

Knock All That Snow Off

Anyone whose ever shoveled snow can tell you how heavy those white, fluffy flakes are. So, imagine what it feels like to be a tree or shrub branch, buried under all that weight. If you can, head out in between storms and gently knock heavy snow from small shrubs to keep them from floundering under the weight.

Would you rather a professional arborist stop by to assist with the tree doctoring this winter? Contact us here at Joshua Tree and we’ll be happy to send someone out.

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