Protect Your Trees from Winter’s Wrath

The icy grip of winter approaches, and it’s not just your house or car that needs help withstanding some of the year’s toughest months. To keep the trees on your property healthy and hardy so they can provide that lovely shade you enjoy the rest of the year, you need to protect them from the deep freeze of winter.

Freezing temperatures bring multiple dangers to your plants. Anything that isn’t hardy will likely not make it through the season. Extremely cold temperatures, fluctuating temperatures, or stress on plants prior to the season places your foliage at greater risk of decay. Be on the lookout for some of these freeze dangers.


Sun Scald

If your trees have long dried or cracked areas of dead bark, most often found on the southern facing side of the plant, the trees have experienced sun scalding. Direct sunlight stimulates cambial activity, which cold temperatures then kill. Young or newly planted trees or those with thin bark are at the greatest risk. Protect the trees by wrapping them with tree wraps, plastic guards, or a light-colored material for the winter.


Winter Discoloration

Yew, arborvitae, or hemlock plants face the greatest risk to discoloration, a sign your plant is slowly dying. Do not plant these types of plants on the southern side of your property if they are not protected from the sun or wind. Set pine boughs or Christmas tree greens against these plants to protect them and encourage snow build up, a natural protector. Care for them properly throughout the year so they are strong and healthy come winter.



Shoot dieback or bud death strikes deciduous trees and shrubs when winter comes. Flowering buds face more risk than their vegetative brethren. Forsythia provides a great example, where the stems and leaves remain strong, but the flower buds experience freeze injuries. Protecting against dieback can be difficult. If you plant the semi-hardy versions in protected or sheltered areas, you can make it easier for the plants to thrive. Any plant that experiences vigorous fall growth is at extreme risk of dieback; avoid trimming or overwatering to prevent this.

Quality Tree Service of Medford encourages year-round maintenance to protect your landscaping. If damage has occurred, contact us today for help in saving your injured plants.


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