Preparing Your Trees For Winter This Fall

Winter is just around the corner. While you and your family may be ready for the frigid temperatures and whirling snowstorms, it’s safe to say your trees are probably not. Before this year’s snowmageddon, head outside and complete this checklist to make sure your trees are well-equipped to brave the upcoming winter months.

Home and trees during the fall season
  1. Cleanup. The first thing you’ll want to do to prepare your trees for winter is some general clean up duties. Inspect your yard for fallen branches and remove them (or hire someone to remove them if they’re too large). Next, look for tree branches that hang over your home or areas where people frequent. Snow will accumulate on these limbs during the winter causing them to break and fall, which can mean bad news for your roof, cars, etc. If the branch is of considerable size or you’re worried about it, it’s best to remove it before it causes larger issues. Lastly, prune your trees to remove dead or dying branches. This reduces the risk of disease and will give your trees the strength they need to survive the winter.
  2. Fertilize. Trees lose much of their vital nutrients in the summer due to the hot, drying conditions. It’s important to apply a slow-release fertilizer to your trees during the fall in order to replenish those lost nutrients and provide them with enough food to survive the winter. The fertilizer will also help trees fight insects, disease, and damaging weather.
  3. Water heavily. Similar to fertilizing, fall is the time to provide your trees with a hefty amount of hydration. Give your trees extra water during the fall because winters can actually be as drying as summers.
  4. Mulch. Applying mulch around your trees is a good way for them to retain moisture during the winter. Mulch acts as both a sponge that holds water as well as a barrier to the outside elements. Be mindful to keep at least six inches of space between tree bark and where you lay the mulch to prevent fungus from growing on the trunk itself.
  5. Plant new trees. It may seem counterproductive to plant new trees in the autumn months, but it’s actually one of the most successful times to do it. During the fall, there’s no extreme heat and less drought, which gives newly planted trees the ability to form a strong root system before winter dormancy.
  6. Wrap. After the first freeze of the year (which usually occurs during late October or early November), wrap your trees using commercial tree wrap. The wrap acts as a barrier around your trees to prevent winter burn (a condition involving extreme drying) and other damaging winter effects. To learn more about how to wrap your trees, click here.

Many of us aren’t big fans of the winter season, but it doesn’t have to be because of the damage it does to our trees. Follow these tips to protect your trees and landscaping this winter and contact Dudley’s Dew Right for all your professional tree service needs!

Winter Tree Care

Winter Tree Care

Baby it’s cold outside…but remember to care for your trees!

Snow has fallen, icy mist covers the branches of your gorgeous trees. The weight is too much for the limbs to handle. Snap! There go your branches. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should stop caring for your trees. Here are a few tips from to assist you in cold weather tree care!

Besides snow and ice, the cold weather itself takes a toll on trees. Cold stress can take many different forms. Daytime heat and nighttime freezing can stress out mature trees. According to, temperature variations may lead to stresses between the outer and inner bark of the tree, causing cracks called frost cracking or southwest injury.

Unfortunately, not much can be done to prevent this frost cracking. In many cases, however, the tree is able to repair itself, but the cracked area remains vulnerable and repetitive cracking in the same place may cause major damage to the tree. If your young trees are at risk, recommends wrapping the bark as part of a fall maintenance procedure.

Another cold stress on trees is a sudden early frost on late growth. Tree growth late in the season is more vulnerable because it doesn’t have the same amount of time to adjust to the cold as established growth, according to “Ice crystals can rupture the cell walls on the new tips of branches leading to die off the following season,” the site said.

In order to avoid this situation, urges you to avoid pruning until after your trees have gone into dormancy for the fall. “Pruning too soon might encourage new growth and increase the risk of frost damage,” said the site. also says to avoid using fertilizers with amounts of quick-release nitrogen. However, trees can definitely benefit from proper fall fertilization. Give Dudley Dew Right a call to help you with your winter fertilization needs!

The second cold weather tree problem is winter drought. This occurs when trees lose more water than they can absorb from frozen ground, and occurs more often in early spring when the ground is still frozen and the spring sun starts warming the rest of the tree. Windy conditions, especially present in Nebraska, may worsen the problem.

According to, there is no sure fire way to help with winter drought, but you may be able to control the problem by spreading a thick layer of mulch around the base of your trees in late fall. Again, give us at Dudley’s a call, and we’ll be glad to help you.

Branch breakage is another common winter tree health problem. Due to the cold weather, branches are more vulnerable to breakage in the winter. In deciduous trees, according to, the wood hardens and becomes a little more brittle and susceptible to wind damage. This problem, mixed with ice and snow, can affect deciduous and evergreens alike.

How do you care for this problem? Good fall tree maintainence is the solution, and Dudley’s is more than willing to be there for you when it comes time to prune your trees. Another solution for very small trees and shrubs is to cover the entire tree with a tent-like housing. For larger evergreens, consider using rope to tie and reinforce branches before the heavy snow and ice falls.

Rodents are another winter tree problem. Trees may become targets for rodents looking for food. Deer, mice and rabbits are the main culprits, according to Mice and rabbits chew bark and girdle trees. Squirrels may also become a winter tree problem.

To guard against these rodents, states the following:

For mice, leave a space between the mulch and trunk of the tree and check frequently. If they continue to be a problem, think about setting out bait, following package directions carefully. Rabbits, on the other hand, can be deterred by wire mesh enclosures, and commercial paint-on repellents may also be available. Contact us today for options!