Arthur Ratliff Tree & Stump Removal

Tree Pruning, Diseases And Stakes; Critical Steps In Winter Tree Preparation

As the weather starts to get colder, add your trees to your list of  things to take care of before winter hits. Prepping your trees for winter may not seem pertinent, but just a little extra maintenance in the fall can make help with the overall health of your trees and might even save you some money. Excessive heat in the summer can negatively impact tree health leading to diseases and greater damage during storms. By knowing how to properly prepare trees in the fall through pruning, improving soil health, and identifying tree diseases, you can expect healthy, beautiful trees by the time spring rolls around. 

Winter Tree Preparation

Step 1: Watering and Mulch around Trees

Even if you watered your trees during the summer, excessive heat can cause soil to dry out resulting in a lack of nutrients. Create a watering program for your trees leading into the winter months to make sure the soil stays moist which helps promote root health. This is important because most tree health issues start at the roots.  Another way to lock the moisture into the soil is to add in mulch around the base of the tree. These add organic materials and nutrients to the soil which promotes healthy roots in addition to protecting them. The mulch can shield trees from pests, disease and environmental stresses such as excessive cold.

Winter Preparation Step 2: Tree Pruning

Tree Pruning is a crucial to keeping trees healthy. Tree pruning can be used to gain clearance over a house or deck, raise the canopy over driveways and sidewalks, and to thin out trees to provide more sunlight for grass and other plants. Additionally, tree pruning can be used to correct the shape of a tree and other structural issues.  Light tree pruning can be done in the fall, but the best time to remove live limbs on a tree is actually in the winter. In the winter, trees have stored their energy reserves in their roots, so live cutting the limbs doesn’t result in a large loss of energy for the tree. By pruning trees in the winter, it allows the tree to have plenty of energy reserves and a full growing season to heal the wounds. Another advantage of winter tree pruning is lack of insect activity. Insects are responsible for spreading diseases and with low insect activity in the winter, a lot of the risk of disease spread is eliminated. Trimmings are already being booked for the upcoming winter. All work done in January and February will receive a 10% discount.

Winter Preparation Step 3: Tree Diseases

After pruning your trees, take this time to look at the overall health of the tree. If you’re not sure what would indicate tree disease, check out the list below. If your tree has any of these symptoms chances are the tree has disease or infestation that should be addressed as soon as possible. Depending on what the tree has, treatments will vary. Symptoms of tree disease or infestation include:

  • Brown spots along the main vein of leaves
  • Leaves looking brown, crisp, and burnt in early fall
  • Premature color loss or yellowing of leaves
  • Leaves with lesions on them or curling in
  • Holes in the tree bark
  • Brown needles
  • Excessive bugs such as beetles, ticks, or moths infesting tree

Winter Preparation Step 4: Tree Stakes

After implementing the following steps, if you notice that a tree still seems weak you may need to use tree stakes to brace the tree for winter. Tree stakes are most often needed when the roots are having trouble supporting what’s above the ground. Tree stakes or braces, are also suggested to be used for trees with weak spots. New trees often don’t need stakes leading into winter as fall is actually the best time to plant them due to cool and moist soil.

We want to make your tree preparation for winter as easy and manageable as possible.

Contact us with any questions or concerns you have leading into winter, we would be happy to help.

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Even if you have the tools, you may not have the time to properly take care of your trees. Our team of certified arborists provide professional, safe and prompt service. We're happy to provide you with a free estimate to see if our services are a good fit for your property.
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