5 Things to Consider for the Season Ahead
1. Snow & Ice Buildup
Unlike the summer months that pull trees down due to water weight and harsh storm winds, winter bears down with the buildup of ice and snow. It’s important to look at your trees now and see the potential for buildup in a few months time to really get a feel for the dangers they pose. Pines are particularly susceptible to shedding their limbs and even their tops due to the added weight of snow.
Also consider the danger of any dead limbs that are still hovering near your home or your driveway. The ice can create a heavy load that the limb cannot support.
2. Covering Your Shrubs
Yes, burlap and boxing your shrubs is not as attractive as leaving them uncovered. But consider their potential in the spring if you leave them out in the elements.
Broadleaf evergreens (holly, boxwoods, azaleas, and rhododendrons) will suffer winter desiccation without proper covering. Desiccation (dehydration) occurs due to the harsh winter air and wind. The leaves of your broadleaf evergreens cannot seal their stomata (the pores for drawing carbon dioxide) and so have their moisture forcibly removed.
If you are seriously averse to covering your shrubs, consider an anti-dessicant spray to safely clog up those stomata to keep them covered.
3. Salt Shields
Another bringer of plant dehydration is the salt used to coat your paths and driveway. They can either dry out the plant or burn the foliage. Be sure to create some sort of physical barrier between your salting areas and any precious plants you want to protect.
Shorten the long limbs. Leverage is the name of the game.
5. Hydrate Now
It’s not too late to help your favorite trees survive this drought. And they are not out of the woods yet! Severe dehydration can seriously compromise your trees and shrubs in the winter. Newly planted trees are especially vulnerable to an early death in this issue. Leave a hose trickling water at the base of your tree for about an hour or so. Make sure the water is seeping into the ground and not running downhill. Move the hose in timed intervals around the stem.