November 15, 2023 As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop in Colorado, trees prepare for winter by going dormant. To ensure your trees remain healthy and resilient during the harsh winter months, it’s crucial to undertake a comprehensive tree care plan for these dormant months. Proper winter tree preparation not only safeguards your trees but also enhances their overall vitality. Here are ten tips to help you prepare your trees for winter. 1. Pruning Start by inspecting your trees for dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Pruning during late fall or early winter is ideal since the lack of leaves makes it easier to spot problematic areas. Careful pruning will reduce the risk of falling branches under the weight of snow or ice, minimizing potential damage to the tree. 2. Mulching Apply a layer of mulch around the base of your trees. Mulch helps insulate the soil, regulate temperature, and retain moisture, which is essential in preventing frost damage to the roots. Be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot and disease. 3. Winter Watering It might seem counterintuitive, but your trees still require adequate moisture during the winter. If there isn’t sufficient natural precipitation, water your trees deeply before the ground freezes. Well-hydrated trees are less susceptible to winter stress and desiccation. 4. Anti-Desiccant Sprays Consider applying anti-desiccant sprays to your evergreen trees. These sprays create a protective barrier on the leaves, reducing water loss through transpiration. This can be especially beneficial in preventing winter burn caused by dehydration. 5. Protection from Wildlife In the winter, wildlife may gnaw on tree bark, which can be detrimental to the tree’s health. Install tree guards or wraps to deter animals and protect the trunk from damage. 6. Snow Removal Safeguard your trees by removing heavy snow from branches. Gently shake the branches or use a broom to prevent the accumulation of snow and ice, which can lead to breakage. Be cautious when removing snow to avoid causing further damage. 7. Support Structures For young or fragile trees, installing support structures like stakes or wraps can help them withstand heavy snow and ice loads. Ensure these structures are securely in place before winter’s arrival. 8. Prevent Salt Damage Be cautious when using de-icing salts or other chemicals on walkways and driveways near your trees. These chemicals can harm tree roots and foliage. Choose tree-friendly alternatives or use salt sparingly. 9. Professional Inspection & Fertilization Consult with one of our tree professionals at Front Range Arborists for a professional inspection. Our team can also help to determine if your trees would benefit from a winter fertilizer application. Some trees, especially evergreens, may benefit from a slow-release, winter-specific fertilizer to promote growth and health. 10. Disease and Pest Control Address any existing disease or pest issues before winter. Dormant oil sprays and other treatments may be necessary to prevent infestations from worsening during the dormant season. While preparing your trees for winter, also plan for the coming spring. This may include scheduling any necessary pruning, addressing potential issues, and planning for new tree plantings. Comprehensive winter tree preparation is essential for maintaining the health and longevity of your trees. By following these guidelines, you can minimize winter-related stress and damage, ensuring that your trees emerge from their dormant period ready to thrive in the spring season. Consulting with a professional arborist is often a wise decision when preparing trees for winter – our team at Front Range Arborists can provide tailored recommendations based on the unique needs of your trees and property. Call our office in Colorado Springs to schedule your pre-winter tree inspection today.