The Cold Weather is Coming
Your trees are either assets or liabilities depending on their health. But how do you know when a tree is in trouble? As we head into winter, now is a good time to assess them. Think of it as winterizing your trees the same way we prepare ourselves for the colder weather by pulling out our scarves and gloves and winter coats.
Assess your trees
Now is the ideal time to assess your trees and take care of them. It’s less intrusive now than during the peak of our barbecue season, for one thing. Also, it’s easier for an arborist to see what is diseased after the leaves have fallen off the branches. Now is a very popular time to prune, before your trees go into dormancy, and before the ice and snow create a problem.
There are signs you can look for as part of a regular visual inspection of your trees. This will help you determine the general health of your trees and when you need to bring in a professional for landscape services.
Roots — look at the roots first. Are there signs of decay? Damage? Do they bulge up from the ground? Is there any fungi?
Bark — are pieces of bark coming off? Are there any signs of stress? Loose bark, cracks, and other signs of decay will reveal a larger problem. And it starts at the base of the tree.
Trunk — how does the trunk look? Is there swelling or other signs of decay? A professional arborist can actually use equipment to determine the extent of decay in the trunk, but you will be able to see bulges if you try to look.
Branches — are any dead, unsafe, or diseased-looking? An obvious sign are branches that haven’t produced any foliage.
Cable, Brace, and Prune
First, determine the location of any branches in question. If they are located over your home, garage, or where you park your car, you may opt to have them cabled or braced before damage occurs. Pruning is a must. If you do this proactively, you can alleviate any winter stress before a breakage occurs.
Fertilize and mulch
Before we head into the long winter days, take the time now to hydrate and fertilize your trees. Mulching helps your trees in this area too. You might think that with all of that snow accumulation, your trees have ample hydration. But in fact they aren’t because the ground is frozen.
Get your trees ready to withstand the severity of the upcoming cold winter months. All of that snow and ice in our near future can wreak havoc.
Of course we all love the physical beauty and shade our trees provide, but they are living organisms with a finite life span. Eventually every tree will die. But if you keep a watchful eye and take good care of your trees, by identifying potential problems and taking action—be it through pruning, cabling, and winter prep or contacting a professional—you will enjoy your trees for years to come.