Winter Injury to Deciduous Trees

Deciduous trees are common in most parts of the world, Toronto included. The trees may include maples, oaks, and beeches. Often, deciduous trees grow and shed their leaves at some point. The trees feature broad and flat leaves. Usually, the trees have a rounded shape and their branches spread as they grow. During winter, a deciduous tree is susceptible to several forms of damage. The trees most susceptible to damage include newly planted trees and young trees. Older trees are less susceptible to damage because they have thicker barks and can insulate the inner tissues. Also prone to damage are trees pruned to raise the lower branches. After pruning, the lower trunk will not have shade and this will lead to exposure to harsh climatic conditions.

It is important to understand the damages that deciduous trees are likely to suffer during winter. This will help you come up with a mechanism to salvage the trees. You may seek a reliable tree service in Toronto to help you understand how to minimize winter damage on your deciduous trees. Some of the common damages to deciduous trees during winter include:


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  • Sunscald

    Upon exposure of the tree bark to the winter sun, the bark heats up and this stimulates activity. However, when a building, a hill, or clouds block the sun rays from accessing the tree bark, temperatures drop suddenly. This rapid drop in temperature may result in damage to the tree bark and the death of the active tissue.

    You can help prevent sunscald damage on your deciduous trees by wrapping the tree with white guards. The white guards help to reflect the sun and keep the bark at more controlled and constant temperatures. When you are choosing a tree wrap, it is advisable to use a white commercial wrap. You should avoid using brown paper tree wrap or black colored tree guards. Dark-colored materials will absorb more heat from the sun and will not be effective in protecting the tree bark.

    You should wrap newly planted trees for at least two winters. If you have thin-barked species of deciduous trees, you should wrap them for up to five winters to help reduce the likelihood of damage. You should put the wrap during the fall season and remove it during winter.

  • Dieback

    Dieback is also a common condition that deciduous trees suffer during winter. It is common for deciduous trees to suffer shoot dieback and bud death during winter. Flower buds are more prone to dieback injuries than leaf buds and stems. Little can be done to help protect trees and shrubs from winter dieback.

    You should put trees that are likely to suffer winter dieback in vigorous growing conditions in late fall. You can also help to minimize winter dieback by avoiding late summer pruning, overwatering, and fertilizing. Ensure that you put trees that are marginally hardy in sheltered locations. On sandy soil, ensure that you fertilize during spring. On heavy soil, you should fertilize during fall after the leaves have fallen off. Your deciduous trees do not have to suffer adverse damage during winter. With the right protection tips, you can minimize the effects of winter on your trees.

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