As we notice during fall, trees shed their leaves and go dormant during the winter; however, unlike hibernating animals, trees are not protected from the cold. Trees “hibernate” naked in the elements; they endure the harsh temperatures of the winter season. Winter weather is brutal on trees, particularly freshly-planted or immature trees that require developed defense methods such as a comprehensive, expanding root system or dense bark. 

Here’s how to shield trees from the cold winter temperatures and help them withstand the season and flourish in the spring and summer.

Lay Down Some Mulch

Add a small bed (a maximum of two inches) of mulch below the tree’s drip line in the backend of fall or the start of winter. Mulch protects dirt and tree roots from weather changes and decreases water evaporation from the soil. 

Also, avoid putting too much mulch right against the tree. Rather, hold off on putting down mulch until after the ground freezes to avoid vermin from taking the mulch to their hibernation quarters.

Give Them Water

Be sure to give trees, particularly freshly-planted trees, plenty of water through autumn until the ground freezes. By providing your tree(s) with plenty of water, you ensure they are “well-fed” for their winter slumber, just like an animal stores fat to tide them over until spring during hibernation. 

Spray on Anti-Desiccants

The winter sun and blistering winds produce drying circumstances for various types of trees in winter, particularly broadleaf evergreens such as Rhododendron, Pieris, or Mountain Laurel. To avoid the leaves from drying out too much, spray an anti-desiccant onto your trees. Anti-desiccants cover leaves with a waxy layer to decrease moisture evaporation.

Wrap Them Up

Sunshine in the winter thaws your tree’s trunk during the day and then freezes it again during the cold night. As a result, cracks may form in the trunk if bark cells rupture; this process is known as sunscald. To defend trees from sunscald, wrap the trees with a tree wrap; starting at the bottom, begin wrapping the trunk and move upward and overlap the layers by one-third the width of the wrap. Cease the process just before the lowest branches. Alternatively, you may paint the trunk white to reflect sunlight off the tree or envelop the trunk with a white plastic rabbit guard. 

P.s., remove the wrap in the spring. 

Protect The Tree

Vermin, such as voles and rabbits, like to chew the bark of immature trees. Usually, they’ll eat exterior and interior bark, revealing interior wood. If gnawing deprivation happens halfway through the trunk, the tree probably won’t live through the winter. Use plastic tree guards to prevent rodents from getting at your tree! Begin wrapping the tree with the guard at the bottom, then work your way upward, just like the tree wraps in the previous point. You will need to cover beyond the snow line on the trunk. 

Remove the plastic guard in the spring. A second choice is to place chicken wire around the trunks, as the chicken wire also prevents deer from rubbing on the tree, causing damage. 

You don’t need to keep using the guards once the bark matures and forms fissures; the tiny vermin often stop chewing at that point since the bark is too hard.

Don’t Be Salty

Avoid placing rock salt (sodium chloride) away from trees. The reason is that the tock salt prevents the roots from absorbing oxygen, water, and other nutrients. Alternatively, use ice melting methods that contain potassium, calcium, or magnesium chloride since those are safe for trees.

Clear The Snow

Gently knock off the snow that accumulates on tree limbs, even though it is a pretty sight. 


Winter gives you an excellent time to prune your trees since you can see all problematic branches or spots on the tree. Also, any diseases in the tree are dormant, which means winter is the time to strike and cut off any diseased limbs. 

If you want more tips about tree maintenance or need professional tree services, check out our site or give us a call! Our team of tree experts will help you get everything done right so your leafy friends have the best lives possible. 

JK Painting Services Corp. 12 Tudor St Waltham, MA 02453  Call Today (781) 775-6651
East Coast Tree Service

Based in Reading, MA 01867

Call (781) 518-8014

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Removal, Trimming & Pruning
Removal, Trimming & Pruning