Preparing Trees and Shrubs for Ice Damage

magnolia-tree-684226_640Believe it or not, winter is on its way. We’re already in November. Homeowners can do themselves and their trees a big favor by properly preparing trees and shrubs for ice damage. To remain in good health, trees require care before and during the winter. Here are some suggestions as to what you can do to prepare your trees and shrubs for ice damage.

Put mulch on the base

You should apply two to four inches of wood chips, bark or some other type of organic mulch near the base of your trees. You can also use recycled leaves that have fallen from the trees as an organic mulch to protect them for the winter. Be careful not to put the mulch directly against the tree. If you do, then you could increase the chance of soil evaporation and cause issues with water absorption. This process of mulching will help insulate the tree from extreme temperatures. Check your community recycling program. Some of them provide wood chips to you for free.

Rules for winter pruning

Late winter is probably the best time to prune most tree species. However, it can be done whenever the trees are dormant over the winter months. Pruning is often done to remove dead branches or overhanging branches that could damage your home. You shouldn’t remove any branches without having a good reason.

More specifically, you should prune evergreens as needed. This includes magnolias, live oaks and wax myrtles. This will minimize possible ice damage. Do it now (in November) so you can avoid problems in the winter. Wait until the first freeze and then cut back dormant perennials such as lantana and salvia. You’ll want to trim tropical plants like cannas and elephant ears after their foliage freezes down. A major re-shaping of shade trees should be done as needed after the first freeze when the plants go dormant.

The best thing you could do is call us at Austin Tree Service at 512-341-8888 to have our professional certified arborist assess and help you make a knowledgeable decision about the best way to protect your trees and shrubs for ice damage.