November 20, 2023

Winter Drought Care Tips

As winter approaches, our customary reminder emphasizes the advantages of winter pruning during the dormant season, historically promoting the overall health and longevity of trees. However, given the prevailing severe drought conditions, let's redirect attention to a vital aspect of tree care. This extended drought period presents challenges for tree health, necessitating special considerations even in the winter months. While many recommendations for drought-stressed trees are consistent year-round, specific factors should be contemplated during winter.

  1. Watering: On mild winter days when the ground isn't frozen, provide thorough watering to your trees. Deep hydration fosters root growth and aids in moisture retention, benefiting trees even in chilly temperatures.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around your trees' base to conserve soil moisture and regulate temperature. Winter, with its moderate temperatures, offers an ideal time for mulching without the discomfort of extreme heat.
  3. Fire Danger: Given the heightened fire risk during drought, refrain from burning leaf piles or having bonfires. Dry materials in your yard pose a significant fire hazard, and even with precautions, wind-carried sparks can ignite additional sources.
  4. Leave the Leaves: Allow fallen leaves to remain as they naturally decompose, providing valuable nutrients to nourish your trees during their dormant phase. With grass also dormant, this approach requires less effort on your part while benefiting your trees.
  5. Pruning: Take advantage of the dormant season to prune your trees. With reduced energy allocation to growth and food production, trees can more efficiently channel energy into compartmentalizing pruning wounds.
  6. Heaving: Drought-stressed trees are more susceptible to disease and insects. Watch for signs of leaning or roots being lifted out of the ground (heaving) after weather events, as weakened trees may struggle to withstand heavy rain or ice storms.
  7. Choose the Right Trees: Despite drought conditions, consider planting new trees during the dormant season. Opt for drought-resistant species suitable for your region's winter conditions and water newly planted trees weekly under favorable circumstances.
  8. Consult Your Arborist: If uncertain about winter tree care, seek guidance from a certified arborist. Arborists can assess your trees' condition and offer expert advice tailored to your specific situation.