Protecting Trees from Winter Damage

Winter, often perceived as a dormant period for garden care, is a critical time for the health of your trees in Oregon. The cold season brings various challenges for trees, including snow, ice, salt, and plummeting temperatures. Understanding these challenges and taking proactive measures can prevent damage that often becomes apparent only in spring. Recognizing the signs of winter damage and providing necessary care and protection to your trees is essential.

Guarding Against Frost Cracks and Sunscald

Trees can be significantly affected by the drastic temperature fluctuations between day and night during winter. Sunscald typically affects the south-facing side of trees, where the sun warms the bark during the day, only to be damaged by cooler night temperatures. This condition harms young or thin-barked trees, leading to bark cracking and potential fungus infestation.
Frost cracks are another concern arising from the rapid expansion and contraction of the tree bark due to temperature changes, causing the bark to split. This damage can take years to heal. Wrapping trees in protective materials can provide insulation and reduce the risk of these issues.

Addressing Winter Burn and Desiccation

Winter desiccation, or winter burn, is a common problem, especially for evergreens. Factors such as dry winds, bright sunny days, and frozen soil can dehydrate trees and hinder their ability to absorb and transpire water efficiently. This often results in browning needles in evergreens. Pruning affected branches in broadleaf trees and applying anti-desiccants to evergreens before the onset of winter can help mitigate these effects.

Alleviating the Stress of Snow and Ice Accumulation

Snow and ice accumulation on tree branches is a significant concern during winter. The added weight can lead to bending, cracking, or even breaking of branches. Regularly brushing off snow from tree branches can help reduce this risk and prevent potential damage.

Seeking Professional Tree Care During Winter

Dealing with trees in winter can be hazardous, and it is crucial to prioritize safety. If you need emergency tree care or professional advice on protecting your trees during the winter, contacting a reputable tree service provider, such as Quality Tree Service, is advisable.

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