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Partner Post: Prep Trees for Winter with Five Steps in Fall

In autumn, we become enamored with our trees. Tinted red, orange or gold leaves are just beginning to drop. While they may look beautiful, the changing colors also signal that it’s time to start thinking ahead to the colder seasons.   

Winter’s harsh snowfalls, ice storms and strong winds can bring down tree branches and limbs onto roads, cars, structures and power lines. This could negatively impact property or even put residents at risk.  

Play it safe, and follow these steps to keep your trees and homes in pristine conditions this winter.


Prep Trees for Winter with the Fall Five:

  1. Plant.  Fall is the optimal time to plant a tree. The mild weather and frequent rainfall help roots establish quickly and grow strong. Set trees up for success before temperatures drop by planting before the end of November. Choose a location that can accommodate the mature size of the tree, which will add value to the property for years to come.
  2. Mulch. A block full of gorgeous, protected trees attracts more interest in a property. And mulching is one way to keep trees healthy and looking good year-round. Trees benefit from a blanket of mulch because it acts as a moisture barrier and helps maintain a consistent soil temperature.  Keep mulch two to three inches from the trunk of the tree, and do not pile it close to the base like a volcano as it can trap moisture, creating a cool hideaway that attracts fungus, disease and pests.
  3. Prune. By removing dead, diseased or unsafe branches, you help your trees maintain a safe structure and tolerate high winds. Certified arborists specialize in examining properties for hazards and pruning the canopy as needed. Well-maintained trees are also less likely to break and cause damage, thus increasing curb appeal while improving your trees’ look and shape.  
  4. Fertilize. Even though trees appear dormant during winter months, their roots continue to grow and need nutrients. Feed trees with a slow-release fertilizer to help keep them nourished all winter long. Come spring, your trees will be blooming and ready to show off.
  5. Keep pests away. Apply dormant oil in fall to stop insect larvae from developing further. While dormant oils eliminate invasive pests, they’re less toxic to beneficial bugs. In spring, you’ll have fewer bugs gnawing on fresh tree buds and fruit.

Follow these guidelines to help trees stand strong in winter storms. Contact a local, certified arborist for an evaluation to determine a tree’s hazard potential based on soil conditions, wind exposure, defects, overall health and additional factors. 

About the Author

The Davey Tree Expert Company provides research-driven tree services, grounds maintenance and environmental solutions for residential, utility, commercial and environmental partners across North America. As one of the largest employee-owned companies in the U.S., Davey has been dedicated to creating and delivering sustainable solutions for 140 years. Become part of the Davey legacy and apply today.

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