Plants and trees experience life cycles through seasons, unlike us humans. We need nutrients, water, and rest each day, and our quality of rest helps determine how productive we will be the next day. Plants are very similar to us in that they also require nutrients, water, and rest; most plants sleep in the winter. This is known as a plant’s dormancy period, and their quality of rest will determine their health and productivity for the spring.
During the winter, you’ll need to winterize your plants. Winterization for plants simply means to make sure your plants are ready for the winter. Pay extra care to your shrubs and trees. Here are some ways to ensure that your shrubs and trees will make it through the winter and blossom to their full potential.
Preparing for the Big Chill
Trees and shrubs that are healthy year-round are more likely to get through the winter unscathed. A plant that has struggled during its growth, whether due to a lack of sunlight, water or nutrients, or heavy damage from insects or disease will enter winter in a vulnerable state. Start your winterization process during the growing season into the autumn. Do not prune your plants after the midsummer. Pruning stimulates plant growth and delays dormancy. Stop fertilizing your shrubs and trees six weeks before the first frost to help your plants harden off properly.
Keep watering your plants thoroughly in the fall until the ground begins to freeze. Make sure the water penetrates 12 to 18 inches deep to reach the root zone. Newly planted trees will require more attention because of their limited ability to obtain water in their growing environment. The key to survival for shrubs and trees is giving them adequate moisture before winter freezes the world around them.
Winter Challenges for Trees and Shrubs
Extreme cold isn’t the only challenge faced by your trees and shrubs as winter can wreak havoc for your plants in numerous ways. Early cold spells can damage plant tissues that haven’t had the chance to harden off for the winter. Frozen soil doesn’t allow plants to take up water to replace the moisture lost from evaporation and transpiration. Deer, rabbits, mice, and other animals love to gnaw bark and browse the leaves and twigs when other food becomes scarce during long, cold winters. Bright winter sun heats up dark tree bark, which can freeze and crack when temperatures drop quickly during the sunset. As you can see, there are far too many risks that your shrubs and trees might face if you do not properly winterize your plants.
Checklist on Winterizing Trees and Shrubs
- Remove any visible deadwood and make pruning cuts that minimize the exposure of the central heartwood of the branch.
- Pluck declining twigs, branches, and bark.
- Cut off any sprouts or suckers growing at the tree base or along the stems and branches.
- Conserve as many living branches as possible with only a few selective cuts.
- Aerate soil if it’s compacted and poorly drained.
- Do not damage tree roots in the soil.
Winterizing your lawn is serious work, and you’ll need to be experienced to properly fertilize your lawn—especially with Utah’s winters. Contact All Green Pest Control and our experts will help you with all your lawn care needs and answer all your burning questions.