Tip of the Week: Are Your Trees Ready for Winter?
We often take trees for granted. We forget they are the most expensive part of our landscapes. And if we’re not caring for them properly, we’re not protecting our long-term investment.
- Many mature trees are worth thousands of dollars. As trees grow, they increase property value and add curb appeal.
- If a large tree dies, you can’t go out and replace it with one of the same size as it will take years to grow another one as large.
- Plus, every tree helps keep us alive. The average tree removes 48 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year while creating enough oxygen for 2 people to live an entire year.
To protect your investment in trees, make sure they are examined and pruned as needed. Many trees have put on substantial growth this summer, to the point of being overgrown.
They have been affected by the past 3 years’ worth of tough weather beginning with the November 2014 freeze followed by a super wet spring that may have created fungus problems. Plus, we’ve had Mother’s Day storms two years in a row that broke branches.
If your trees have not had much attention since these weather events, now is the time to make sure they receive the TLC they need to face another winter. They may also need thinning so they can handle heavy snows without breaking. Starting in August, it’s a good time to prune so your trees are set for the winter months ahead.
There are 4 main problems that should be addressed when pruning
#1 – Dead branches. They are generally the easiest to see because they have no leaves. It’s dangerous to leave them in the tree because they are more easily broken in wind and from the extra weight of heavy snows.
#2 – Storm damage. After storms, there are often limbs that are completely detached, but still hanging in the tree. Falling limbs can injure people and create property damage and should be removed right away. Broken, but attached branches should also be removed.
#3 – Branches hitting structures. Branches that touch and rub against the house, gutters, windows, fences or hang over the street and sidewalk or are near powerlines, can cause damage and should be removed.
#4 – Where the tree is damaging itself. When branches are rubbing against one another, both will be damaged and the problem needs to be resolved via pruning. When there is too much interior growth within the tree blocking out the sun, the tree should also be thinned. On younger trees, pruning is often done to shape the tree as it grows
Use these cooler days of summer to get your trees prepared for the snow and wind season. And remember, if you don’t have proper safety gear to protect yourself or can’t prune while standing with both feet on the ground, it’s time to call in a pro. Tree pros have the equipment and the expertise to do the job properly.