June 25, 2024

Preparing your trees for winter

Trees have some inbuilt protection against the cold, because their bark provides a layer of insulation, but they need a helping hand to make sure they’re in tip-top condition when spring arrives. 

You probably know about putting frost cloth over young and vulnerable plants, but there are plenty of other things you can do to help your trees thrive through winter!

Clear around the base

Get started by weeding and tidying up the area around the roots of your tree (up to around a metre out from the trunk) and clearing away any fallen branches, fruit, and other debris. 

We also recommend aerating the soil in this area to make it easier for oxygen to reach the tree’s roots, and to promote nutrient absorption. You don’t need any fancy equipment - just push a garden fork into the soil with your foot and rock it back and forth slightly - but if you’ve got a small forest on your property it might be worth hiring an aerator for the day!

Give your trees a layer of mulch

Putting a layer of mulch around the base of your trees is one of the most important steps you can take to ensuring they stay strong and healthy during winter. 

Trees go through a dormant growth stage during winter, so it’s important to make sure they’re well stocked up on essential nutrients. Mulch provides slow-release fertilisation as it breaks down, while also conserving soil moisture and acting as a handy weed suppressor.

As well as providing nutrients, mulch acts like a warm winter jacket, adding a layer of frost protection for the delicate feeder roots that grow just below the ground’s surface. 

Be careful not to over-mulch. Aim for a layer of mulch that’s 5-10cm thick, and avoid creating a ‘volcano’ that piles up around the tree trunk. If your mulch layer is too heavy, you risk suffocating the tree’s roots and attracting pests. 

Prune your trees

It’s a good idea to prune your trees regularly, as removing damaged branches promotes the overall health of the tree and increases airflow and light penetration. It’s also sensible to make sure any damaged or dangerous branches are removed before the worst of the winter weather hits, to reduce the risk that a branch will come down and cause property damage.

We recommend talking to an arborist before you start to prune, as getting the timing right can be a delicate operation! Pruning too close to winter can mean trees waste precious nutrients on healing over the pruned branches, while some trees (fruit trees, for example) perform better when they’re pruned closer to the start of Spring.

Consult an arborist

Every property is different, and there’s a lot to consider when you’re planning your winter treecare. Trees need different levels of protection depending on their age, condition and species, and your local microclimate can also have an impact. Get in touch with the Treetech team for a treecare plan designed for your property.

Contact us

We are always happy to help!