While most trees need minimal care once they are grown, it can take several seasons for a freshly planted tree to establish the deep root system and thick protective layer of bark needed to withstand harsh winter weather. Here are three tips to help defend newly placed trees and shrubs against the elements.
1. Insulate Trunks
The warmth of the sun on a clear winter day can activate bark cells even when the tree is otherwise dormant. These activated cells are at risk of freezing when temperatures drop again in the evening, resulting in a condition known as sun scald, which causes discoloration and cracking on the trunk itself. To prevent this, make sure to insulate trunks with paper or plastic landscaping wrap.
2. Apply Mulch
Mulch the base of trees and shrubs in the fall with a 4 to 8-inch layer of bark chips, wood chips or other organic mulch. This helps to retain moisture in the soil and insulates roots against plummeting temperatures. If you live in a more arid climate, it’s also a good idea to give new trees a healthy watering before putting away the hose for the season. Start the mulch line about 3 inches away from the trunk and extend the layer outward beneath the canopy.
3. Provide Branch Support
For smaller trees, and especially evergreen varieties, wrap twine loosely around the center branches so that they reach upward. This provides support against the weight of snow and ice, which can easily break dormant limbs and branches.
Invest in Your Landscaping
Whether you haven’t got much of a green thumb or your busy schedule makes it hard to fit in extra outdoor chores, you may want to consider investing in a professional landscaping service. From pruning and mulching trees and shrubs in the winter to prepping your lawn for the spring and summer growing season, these gardening professionals can help your yard stay beautiful season after season.