Winter Damage

By: Craig Jabs - November 25, 2009

In the spring and summer months many people ask the question,"What is the matter with my trees and shrubs?" Although each case is different, many times it can be attributed to winter damage. Alberta winters can be extremely stressful on our trees and shrubs. This short piece briefly outlines what you can look for and do to reduce your trees chance of winter damage.

There are many different types of winter damage. Symptoms may vary depending on the type of species of trees and shrubs./p>

Sun scald: This occurs mostly to trees and shrubs which face south to southwest and have smooth barks. Apples, crabapples, mountain ash, amur cherries, maydays, maple, lindens and aspen poplars are the most susceptible. With sun scald damage you will see  "sloughing off" of the outer bark. Breaking up of the snow around these vulnerable trees can help in reducing the suns glare. Placing some form of protection around the trunk, such as burlap, can help in the prevention of sun scald.

Severe temperature damage: Abnormally low temperatures in early fall and in late spring can cause tip die back and bud death. To help prevent this damage select and plant trees and shrubs which are hardy to our temperature zone. Also, avoid heavy watering and fertilizing in the fall. This can lead to the production of late new growth which is susceptible because it has not had time to "harden off" before winter.

Excessive snow and ice: In May of 1997,  the trees in Edmonton suffered heavy damage due to a late snowfall. The weight of the snow caused many large trees and branches to fail. In order to reduce the chance of this type of damage, have your trees inspected and maintained by a professional, certified arborist. Proper pruning, lightening of  heavy limbs, cabling and bracing are some of the services which an arborist can provide in order to help reduce the risk of tree and branch failure.

In order to reduce your chance of frustration over winter damage in the spring, be proactive, plan ahead. Maintaining  your trees at the proper time can help avoid many disease and physiological problems down the road,  which ultimately prevents removal of the tree or shrub down the road.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your trees and shrubs please do not hesitate to contact us at (780) 448-0584.

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