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Harboring Arborist: 4 Tips to Help Winterize Your Trees

Frigid temperatures and heavy storms can wreak havoc on your trees, and you might end up dealing with some major problems next spring if you don’t plan ahead. Luckily, with a little bit of preventative maintenance and some inexpensive products, you should be able to keep your trees safe and healthy during the coldest months of the year.



As an amateur arborist, one of your most important jobs is insulating the roots of younger trees. Mature trees should be fine throughout the winter, but younger trees might die off if the roots get too cold. The easiest way to insulate the roots is to put a thin layer of mulch on top of the soil. Mulch can be made from a wide variety of materials, but most experts prefer wood chips or compost. Those two materials are going to protect the roots and provide them with plenty of minerals.

Continue to Water

It might be tempting to stop watering as soon as the weather starts to cool off, but that could potentially weaken younger trees. As a general rule, you should continue to water until the first frost of the season. That extra moisture will give the trees an ample supply of water during the colder months.


Another important step in this process is fertilizing the soil before the weather gets too cold. Even though some of your trees might go dormant during the winter, they still need an ample dose of vitamins and minerals. For most trees, the best fertilizer is going to be a blend of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If you only have mature conifers on your property, then you probably won’t need to fertilize unless they are damaged in some way.

Brace Weaker Trees

Depending on where you live, you might want to brace your trees as well. During heavy winter storms, high winds could crack branches or even lift trees out of the ground entirely. Properly cabling your smaller trees will keep them grounded and protect your home from flying debris. Bracing is also a good option for older trees that have weaker root systems.

You should be able to carry out at least a few of these steps on your own, but there may come a point when you need to call in a specialist. A professional arborist will be able to help you come up with a long-term maintenance plan that keeps your trees healthy and strong for many years to come.

Author Bio: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber;

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