Winter months bring ice, snow, cold temps, and the threat of winter damage to your trees. Even though trees are dormant this time of year, they are not resistant to the stresses of the winter season. Though they are susceptible to injury in the cold months, the effects are often not known until spring. Here are some specific events that can cause damage to your trees throughout the winter.

Changing Temperatures:

Fast changes in temperatures can be common in the winter months. These drastic changes in temperature can lead to sunscald and frost cracking.

What is Sunscald?

Sunscald is damage to plant tissue, especially bark or fruit, caused by exposure to excessive sunlight. When the sun warms up the bark on sunny days it awakens the inactive cells within the tree. These newly activated cells are then injured when temperatures drop below freezing during the evening hours. The bark slowly darkens, turns reddish-brown, and becomes rough before cracking and falling away. Sunscald is more common to bark of trees exposed to the southwest.

What are Frost Cracks?

Frost cracks are vertical cracks that form in the bark and also occur from a large drop in temperature. Like sunscald, this injury is most common on the south or west side of a tree, and young trees with thin bark are most susceptible. As the sun sets and the temperatures drop the tree bark contracts which causes wood cracking.

Limb Failure:

Snow and ice add additional weight to limbs. This extra weight can cause limb failure. To prevent this, have your trees pruned routinely and have dead branches removed.

Winter Burn:

Conifer trees (also commonly referred to as evergreen trees) often lack moisture in winter months. This leads to browning foliage on the tree. To prevent this, provide water to the root ball before it freezes.

Contact the Tree Doctor today for advice on how to protect your trees from winter damage.