Owning trees is one of life’s great joys, but caring for them can be a real challenge. Despite their reputation for being hardy, trees also require constant attention and regular care.
Throughout the year, trees of all types must receive regular inspections for disease, damage, and pest infestations. They must also be regularly trimmed in order to ensure optimum health for the leaves and branches. As winter arrives, many tree species will begin to lose the leaves you have cared for the rest of the year. Maintaining the health of your trees during this season can be tricky; while certain problems are less likely to plague you during this time (insect pests are often dormant, for example), you can find that your tree faces other hardships that are unique to the winter months.
During the lead-up to winter, people often ask if there’s any point in trimming their trees. After all, the leaves and many of the branches will fall off naturally during this time. However, trimming your trees before winter can still be a crucial task, as can other steps to prepare the tree for the upcoming brisk climate.
Getting trees ready for winter
In the Vancouver area, winter can be particularly harsh. The cold weather can harm, or even kill a tree that has not been properly cared for during the year. One example of a problem that trees face during wintertime is called winter drought. It is, as its name implies, caused by a lack of access to water as the ground freezes and the rain gives way to snow.
A tree suffering from winter drought will become weak and have difficulty surviving during extreme cold. You can, however, address this problem by making sure your tree has plenty of water during the summer and autumn months. You can also spread a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to lock in moisture and keep the ground from freezing too much.
Other common problems in wintertime
Winter means food for local wildlife is often scarce; as a result, the critters may turn to your tree looking for sustenance. Animals such as rats, deer, and rabbits are of particular concern as they can gnaw at the bark and seriously harm your tree.
Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your tree is at a lower risk of being attacked by animals; for example, a fence can be placed around the base of the tree to limit their access. Just make sure the fence does not go too deep and interfere with the roots of the tree.
Another common problem that trees face in winter is damage from heavy winds and snow. If the tree gets battered during the cold season, it can lose branches, which can leave it even more vulnerable to other wintertime issues. This problem can be dealt with by cabling and bracing the tree; a Vancouver tree service such as us at Mr. Tree can help with this.
One other major area of concern lies in the actual trimming of your tree. To prepare for winter, should you trim the tree? And if so, when is the appropriate time?
Trimming your tree
Many trees require regular trimming in order to ensure their health and well-being throughout the year. Regular pruning has a number of advantages that it confers upon trees. For starters, it helps to clear away old, dead, or dying branches in order to make way for the growth of new healthy ones.
It has aesthetic benefits as well; trimming your trees improves their appearance by ensuring there aren’t any unhealthy branches in view.
One other possible benefit of regularly trimming your tree is clearing the canopy and thereby improving air circulation through the branches. This can lead to other problems, however, as the relative lack of protection can lead to sunscald during the winter if the pruning has not been timed correctly. There are other issues that can come with trimming trees at the wrong time, as well.
Time your tree trimming
Trimming your tree at the right time to maximize its health during the cold season requires expert planning. If you trim your tree too soon before the winter frosts, new branches will begin to sprout just as the cold arrives. The chilly temperature will kill these new branches and place undue stress on the tree.
For this reason, the best time to trim most types of trees is in the late autumn; before the winter cold, but well after the summer has ended. At this time, trees will become dormant in anticipation of the upcoming frosts. You can then trim your trees without fear of them sprouting new branches, which will divert valuable resources away just as they are needed to survive the winter.
Trees must be properly cared for in the months before the winter or they will be weak and vulnerable to frost damage during the harsh winter. A good idea is to have professional tree service in Vancouver inspect your tree before the summertime.
What does a tree service do?
Just as people need regular check-ups at the doctor’s office, trees need regular inspections to ensure they are healthy as well. While you can and should do some things yourself to maintain the health of your tree, at times you will need to seek the help of a professional tree service.
A professional tree service is trained to prune a tree safely and effectively, and also to search for other problems that may need to be addressed. During regular inspections, they will check your tree for signs of disease and pest infestation. If they notice any problems, they can also take steps to address them before they advance too far and threaten the life of the tree. When it comes to trimming the tree, a professional tree service will be able to time it correctly so that the tree is well prepared for the winter.