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Tree Care & Maintenance Routines to Protect Your Trees in Winter

Winter tree care is essential to ensure your trees can withstand the cold temperatures and stay healthy for spring. This is because they become susceptible to problems during the winter months. As it can be challenging to tell whether they are experiencing issues, it helps to invest some time in tree pruning, trimming, and removal to help your trees make it through the season. Read on to learn about the common tree problems that occur in winter and some tree care tips to maintain their health throughout the year.

4 Common Problems & Risks for Trees in Winter

Breaking Branches

Branches tend to become dry because of the cold temperature, making them more susceptible to breaking. The limbs of large trees can cause significant damage to your property and other trees nearby if they fall.

Winter Drought

Most people do not consider that the winter months can be cold and dry. With the moisture evaporating, your trees can start to suffer. It is also difficult to absorb enough water from the frozen ground, increasing their dryness.

Cold Stress

Cold stress results in the following problems for trees during winter:

  • Rapid changes in temperature, causing cracks on the outer bark
  • Early frosts, resulting in the death of the new branches

Freezing Trees

Some trees are better suited to winter weather than others. If you have only native trees and plants, there is less worry about them freezing. However, if your garden is more diverse, some plants may not be able to survive the winter without a proper tree care routine.

7 Winter Tree Care Solutions & Maintenance Tips

Risk Inspections

Winter is the best time for tree inspections because they don’t have leaves, flowers, and fruits to hinder the view. It is wise to hire qualified arborists who can carefully analyze the tree’s structure and identify any defects such as decay, cavities, deformities, cracks, and more. Moreover, they can determine any possible hazards or risks before they happen to prevent any accidents.


If you have newly planted trees, it is beneficial to water them every week or two because they need about 10 – 15 gallons of water to thrive. Once a month, give your mature trees around ten gallons of water for every inch they measure in diameter. Remember to water your trees slowly, so their roots have plenty of time to absorb it. This can be done by watering them multiple times throughout the day. If it has snowed or rained recently, be sure to check the soil’s moisture level around the trees.


One of the essential winter care tips is to make a thick layer of mulch around your trees. It prevents water runoff, reduces the loss of moisture, and acts as a temperature buffer. Ensure there are 3 to 5 inches of mulch evenly spread around the base of each tree. It is best to mulch about 3 inches away from a tree’s trunk and extend up to 2 feet in all directions, forming a large circle of mulch. If your trees shed a lot of leaves, rake them up and distribute them around the tree. In the case of large leaves, you can break them into smaller pieces with a lawnmower.

Preventive Pruning

Branches are more vulnerable to damage in winter because of the accumulation of snow and ice and strong winds. To prevent breakage and loss of weak limbs, arborists often encourage structural tree pruning. Moreover, the general rule is to prune trees during the dormant season or the late winter months using proper tools and techniques. Doing so will also help promote the growth of new foliage in the spring. Similar to tree pruning, shrub care and trimming the hedges on your property before the onset of winter is essential to ensure they withstand the cold months. Working with a professional tree care expert can help you achieve the desired results.

Tree Removal

You may need to remove the trees that are extensively damaged or diseased before the onset of winter. In addition to ensuring the safety of the people on the property, tree removal will also help the nearby trees and plants thrive. Hiring professionals who are fully equipped and highly trained in tree removal can help you get the job done in the best possible way.


If you are concerned about winter injury to your small trees, a burlap barrier can help. In addition to this, you can use many materials to cover your trees, including tarps and winter sheets. It is wise to wrap vulnerable trees before the temperature drops. Remember to use a frame so that the covering doesn’t directly touch the tree. To build the frame, place four stakes firmly on the ground around the tree and wrap burlap around them. Be sure to leave space between the burlap and the branches to allow air circulation.

See also: Burlap Wrap Is An Inexpensive Method For Winter Tree Care

Tree Guards

Animals searching for food in winter often tend to damage trees and shrubs. To deter them from getting close to your plants, you can place a wire mesh enclosure or a tree guard for protection. They should be breathable and crafted carefully to allow your trees to thrive with the guard on over the winter months. Remember to remove them during early spring once the temperatures start to rise. Otherwise, the trunk may rot due to moisture build-up.

Get Complete Tree Care Services for the Winter Months

Tree Care & Maintenance Routines to Protect Your Trees in Winter

DreamWorks Tree Services has qualified arborists in Toronto to provide winter tree care and ensure your trees survive the winter months. We offer a comprehensive range of services for properties of all types. Our experts will assess your trees and come up with the best care routine to ensure they are strong and healthy. Our team can provide solutions for all varieties of problems your plants may face in the winter.

If you are in Toronto or the GTA and need expert assistance preparing your trees for the winter season, our tree care specialists will be happy to assist you. You can call us at 647-924-2627 or fill out our online form to request a free property assessment.

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