January 16, 2023 When you think of the things that make the Front Range beautiful, it’s a sure bet that the proliferation of gorgeous trees ranks high on your list. They’re certainly a treat for the eyes, but for property owners in Colorado, winter tree and shrub problems can create an opposite effect. Trees are an important part of your overall curb appeal, and the cornerstone of many landscape designs. Your lawn, your trees and your landscaping are important parts to maintain of what is likely your biggest and most important investment: your home or commercial property. Why Stress is a Major Contributor to Winter Tree and Shrub Problems For many people, the winter season can leave their mood level as low as the mercury in a thermometer. Winter can be a cold, dark and stressful time for people and trees alike; and just like humans, when trees are under severe stress, they can be more susceptible to disease and damage. Snow on the Colorado ground can be breathtaking in its beauty, but it can wreak real havoc, particularly on deciduous and evergreen trees. Snow is heavy, and as it accumulates, its weight can become overwhelming for the branches and boughs on which it rests. Conversely, very sunny winter days can endanger trees, especially thin-barked varieties. Winter sunlight originates from a lower angle in the sky, potentially increasing the temperature of the south- and southwest-facing side of deciduous trees. This increase in temperature brings cells out of dormancy, but only until sunset. Dropping temperatures after the sun goes down kills the untimely active tissue cells. The result can be patchy, brittle bark that sloughs away in patches or cracks and falls away to reveal the dead tissue. You can’t predict the intensity of the winter sun throughout the season, but you can take proactive steps early to prevent sunscald by disrupting the conditions under which it forms. This means wrapping trees known to be vulnerable to sunscald before the winter tree damage happens. Practical Winter Tree Care for Colorado Residents Many trees make it through winter after Colorado winter hale, hearty, and continuing to grow another year. In fact, winter is the ideal time for pruning most types of trees native to the Front Range, because diseases are far less likely to spread while tree tissues are winter-dormant. In fact, winter is the absolute safest time to trim and prune fruit-bearing trees like peach, apple and plum because the bacteria that causes fire blight is also dormant. Another thing to keep in mind is winter drought. Typically, the driest months of the year on the Front Range are between November and February. When there is no snow on the ground and temperatures are above 40°F, Colorado State University Extension shares it is safe to water your trees, but that doesn’t always mean doing so is feasible. A better, more effective and more efficient solution is just to spring for a nice, thick layer of mulch around the base of trees and shrubs to help hold moisture in the soil. It’s also wise to keep in mind that winter is a great time for a trained, knowledgeable arborist to ensure proper growth, as there are no leaves to obscure the growth of limbs and branches. This may be the perfect time to call Front Range Arborists for a full tree and shrub checkup and to ensure your trees are weathering the winter with as little stress as possible. Contact Front Range Arborists today to get in before the worst of the winter weather does a number on your landscaping!