Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Time to winterize your trees

Winter officially blows into town tomorrow making it time to prepare your trees for the cold months looming ahead. Doing so will help to prevent them from falling victim to the cold, dry conditions and winter precipitation.

Follow these five easy steps:
  • Inspect for broken branches. This is especially important following snow or ice storms. Damaged branches should be pruned carefully. Get a refresher on pruning techniques by reading a blog post from this past summer or register for a free pruning workshop on Saturday, January 14.
  • Assess trees for structural issues. If your tree has been in the ground for at least three years, you can begin structurally pruning. Make sure there are no competing central leaders or included bark. Some branches may need to be subordinated to help other, more important branches grow stronger.
  • Water your trees once or twice a month if temperatures stay above 40 degrees. Evergreens are especially vulnerable to drying out in winter. Once the ground has frozen, do not water.
  • Protect your trees. Use a broom to remove heavy snow or ice that weigh down evergreen branches. Do not sweep leftover salt into tree boxes or storm drains. Sweep it up and dispose of it properly.
  • Install deer damage management practices when appropriate, such as mesh fencing or tall tree guards.
And don't forget to appreciate your trees! Trees reveal their structure in winter. Use this time to see the differences in cones produced by conifers, including cedars, pines, spruces and junipers. Join us for the free tree walk titled Winter Id: Trees in Transition with local author Melanie Choukas-Bradley on Saturday, March 10 and we will point out some true gems. The tree walk is free but advance registration is required and space is limited.

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