How to cover small tree from frost


How to Protect Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs from Frost

One of the joys of planting a new tree is getting to experience all the “firsts.” The first spring bud break, the first fall color change, or the first flush of tasty fruit.

And then there’s your tree’s first few winters. Frankly, they can be tough to get through. Young trees are much more vulnerable to cold weather damage than mature ones, so they need extra help from you to bear the elements.

Below, get tips on protecting newly planted trees and shrubs from frost damage.

Best Way To Protect Trees From Frost

The key to protecting newly planted trees from winter damage is shielding them from harsh elements—from the top of the canopy down to the roots.

Fruit trees and any trees with thin bark are especially vulnerable to an issue called sun-scald. During a warm winter day, tree bark heats up, causing the tissue under the bark to take a quick break from dormancy. But as soon as the sun sets and freezing temperatures swoop in, that tissue under the bark freezes to death. As a result, large, sunken areas develop on the bark.

And, sadly, the damage doesn’t stop there. Freezing temps can also damage a fruit tree’s buds, making it harder for the tree to produce fruit next spring.

But, if you’re proactive, protecting young fruit trees in the winter is possible. Before temperatures drop, do this:

  1. Wrap the tree’s trunk with a plastic tree guard or any other opaque protective tree wrap you find at your garden store. This will protect the tree from sun scald.
  2. Use a frost shield for fruit trees, also known as an anti-transparent. Spraying fruit tree canopies with frost shield coats the tree with a protective film that helps minimize moisture loss.

How To Protect Newly Planted Shrubs From Frost

Oftentimes we plant shrubs to create a privacy screen around our yards. But of course, those shrubs need to be in good health to do their job!

Protect shrubs against winter injury by taking these few steps in the fall:

  1. Thoroughly water your shrubs all the way up until the ground freezes. Here’s how much water newly planted trees and shrubs need.
  2. Seal in moisture by covering your shrub’s bed in a 2-to-4-inch layer of mulch.
  3. Wrap shrubs in loose material like burlap to shield them from harsh wind. Here are two ways to wrap your shrubs before winter.

What Temperature To Cover Plants

Most plants are just fine as long as the temperature is 30 degrees F or higher. Freeze damage can happen when the temperature drops down to the mid-to-low-twenties, and plants are definitely at risk when temps sink under 20 degrees.

To be safe, protect your plants with tree guards or burlap before the temperature is consistently below 30 degrees.

How To Protect Plants From A Late Frost

No trees respond well to a sudden temperature drop, but newly planted trees can really take a hit if mild springtime elements abruptly turn cold. (If you didn’t know, here’s why trees do not appreciate fluctuating temperatures.)

Planning ahead, and having tools like mulch and burlap on hand, can help with the shock of a late spring frost. To protect trees and shrubs from a sudden shift in weather, follow these steps:

  1. Keep an eye on the forecast to track any expected drops in temperature.
  2. The day before a freezing day, thoroughly water your plant.
  3. Mulch to lock in moisture and prevent frost heaving. In a nutshell, frost heaving is when soil thaws and freezes over and over, causing roots to lift up above ground and become exposed to injuring, cold weather. This is a particular problem for young trees during their first couple winters, since their roots are still shallow.
  4. For extra protection, carefully cover the plant with burlap (here’s how!) or a bed sheet if it’s small enough. Be sure to remove that cover first thing the next morning so your plant doesn’t overheat.

When To Remove Tree Wrap

Protective tree wraps aren’t meant to stay on all year. Here’s how you know it’s time to take off tree wrap in spring.

Did your evergreen shrub turn brown in winter? Here’s how to spot and prevent evergreen winter burn.

PRINT OR DOWNLOAD

Sign Up For Free Tree & Landscaping Tips! 

Subscribe to the "The Sapling," the Davey Blog's email newsletter, for the latest tips to keep your outdoor space in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Plus, receive a free instant download of our landscape seasonal checklists when you sign up!

Sign Up Now

Get In Touch With Us!

We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential, commercial, utility, or environmental needs.

Contact Us

Protecting Newly Planted Trees from Frost & Cold Winter Weather

Trees do so much for you. They beautify your landscape, provide cozy shade, oxygenate the air, and boost home value.

No wonder taking care of them is so important! Trees seem to stand so tall and strong on their own. They are the giants of your landscape. They almost seem invincible.

But just like a new puppy, young or newly planted trees need some special care and attention, too, so they can grow healthy roots and a solid structure.

This is especially true in winter. The coldest season can be tough on all of us, trees included. Harsh conditions like cold winds, bright sun, bitter ice, heavy snow, and frost can pack a punch.

Protecting trees from cold weather starts by following these 4 care tips, so you can extend their lives and maximize the many benefits they bring to your home.

How To Protect Newly Planted Trees From Winter


Why Do The Colder Months Impact Winter Tree Care So Much?

Extreme winter conditions, such as ice storms and winds whipping through at sub-zero temperatures, can weigh branches down, risking breakage.

Snow cover can actually insulate trees from the wind and sub-zero temperatures, so a lack of snow makes them more vulnerable.

Repeated freezing and thawing of soil can also cause soil to expand and contract, causing root damage.

Think sun can’t hurt trees in the winter? Think again. On a cold winter day, the sun can heat up a young tree’s bark, stimulating activity. Then when a cloud comes in and blocks the sun, bark temperature drops rapidly, killing that active tissue.

And all these conditions add to plant dryness. On top of that, dry conditions going into winter can make tree tissue more susceptible to cold damage, especially on evergreens.

Mother Nature certainly doesn’t hold anything back during this season. For adequate winter tree protection, follow these 4 important tips.

  1. Watering. Newly planted trees don’t have a root system that’s well established enough to reach the water that is deep in the soil during winter. But just like people, trees need hydration, too. Water your trees’ roots adequately before the ground freezes in October and through mid-November, so your tree is full before winter hits. During a mild winter, you can add a few waterings, particularly if you’re seeing any browning on your evergreens.
  2. Mulching. Mulch acts as an insulator to keep soil temperatures higher, which is one way to keep trees warm in the winter. It also helps prevent cold air from penetrating the root zone of newly planted trees to reduce fall root growth or kill newly formed roots. Place a 4-inch layer of mulch around your tree’s base, spreading it out at least 2 feet from the trunk. Mulch protects your tree’s soil from frost and helps retain water so your tree’s root system receives adequate moisture. Remember not to let the mulch touch your tree’s trunk.
  3. Wrapping. Newly planted or young trees, as well as trees with thinner bark, can benefit from a little winter tree protection. This is because of the possibility of sunscald, which is when the sun heats up the bark for a short period of time, but then leaves it cracked and dry when clouds return.
    Evergreen needles can suffer as well, soaking up sunlight and then immediately drying out. Wrapping trees in winter can help. But which trees you wrap and how you wrap them varies based on tree type.
  4. Pruning. The dormant season, or the few months of winter when trees grow much slower, is a great time to prune. This practice removes dead, damaged, or dying branches that can steal energy from spring growth and does so at a time that reduces the chances for spreading disease.

How To Protect Newly Planted Fruit Trees From Frost

Young and newly planted trees of all kinds need winter tree protection -- fruit trees included.

Unprotected fruit trees are particularly vulnerable to frost damage, which can take a big toll on your tree’s long-term health. While some fruit trees tolerate cold weather better than others, all could use some fruit tree winter protection.

Fruit Tree Freezing Temperatures

You may be cold in winter whether it’s 45 or 30 degrees Fahrenheit. But for your fruit trees, there’s quite a difference in how they react to various temperature ranges.

Temperatures ranging between 32 and 45 degrees produce hormones that suppress fruit budding. This allows warmer temperatures to tell the tree when it’s time to bud. Temperatures below 32 degrees signal a frost, and tells you it’s a great time to cover your trees.

CONCERNED HOW FROST MAY IMPACT YOUR TREES THIS WINTER? HERE ARE THE BEST WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR TREES FROM FROST.

PRINT OR DOWNLOAD

Topics:

  • Newly Planted Tree Care
  • Tree Protection

Related Blog Posts

Property Maintenance & Landscaping

How to Protect & Repair Trees from Animals: Deer, Rabbits, Squirrels

Your trees are staples in your yard, and while you welcome wildlife, you’d hate to see them destroy these strong, sturdy plants in your yard. Here is how to protect your trees from animals.

Read More

Property Maintenance & Landscaping

How To Protect Cedar Trees In Winter

Get all details here! How to best care for your cedar tree during cold, winter months with these tips on watering (how much and how often), when to wrap and unwrap cedar trees, and how to tell if your cedar tree is dying.

Read More

Back to our Blog

Sign Up For Free Tree & Landscaping Tips! 

Subscribe to the "The Sapling," the Davey Blog's email newsletter, for the latest tips to keep your outdoor space in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Plus, receive a free instant download of our landscape seasonal checklists when you sign up!

Sign Up Now

Get In Touch With Us!

We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential, commercial, utility, or environmental needs.

Contact Us

Shelter the garden from frost and wind so that it blooms again in the spring

In cold weather, young fruit trees, and sometimes even older plants, can freeze. In Soviet times, the Michurin Research Institute of Horticulture conducted a study and found out that in the winter of 1939 and 1941, at least 200 thousand hectares of orchards were frozen in the country.

Now gardening has advanced a lot, but the frosts are still severe. It is even more difficult to cope with wintering if hares or goats enter the garden, happily nibbling the bark from the trunks. In order for the garden to bloom in spring, it is necessary to protect it from snow, frost and pests.

What to pay attention to

Remember: heat-loving varieties - columnar pears and apple trees - are especially affected. All types of wood, without exception, are adversely affected by a sharp decrease and increase in temperature. The more smoothly cold and warm alternate, the better the tree adapts.

Frosts are doubly dangerous for the garden in regions where winters have little snow. A good snow cover more or less protects the root system, and if it is not there, you need to take care of the shelter.

Increase the winter hardiness of plants before the cold weather: make an autumn pruning, feed the trees with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers and make a good watering, and then take care of special shelters.

Shelter No. 1: against rodents

To protect against rodents, tie up the trunks with PVC film, cover with roofing tar paper, spruce branches. If there are hares, moose in the region, or there is a risk that the trees will want to devour, for example, neighboring goats, then you need to close the bark with spruce branches. Moreover, you need to cover the forks of skeletal branches, the crowns of young trees - all this is very living creatures.

Winter is cold and lack of greenery, but this does not mean that pests have stopped doing their job. It is necessary to equip traps for a dangerous bear - dig a hole half a meter deep, put warm manure in it, and then cover it with earth and mark the place with pegs. When severe frosts strike, they dig a hole and the bears gathered in it die.

Shelter #2: from frost

What happens to the bark in freezing temperatures? On the south side, the trunk heats up, and on the north it is covered with frost. On frosty nights, tree sap crystallizes (freezes) and breaks wood cells. As a result, the gardener sees frost holes in the morning. But not only they are dangerous, but also the general freezing of wood.

It is necessary to shelter from the cold not only the trunk, but also the soil near it (roots, shoots), crown, especially in very young trees. What can be used as a heater:

  • straw, spruce branches (coniferous branches), burlap - for the trunk, branches, crown;
  • compost, manure - to cover the soil around the tree (protection of the roots).

This shelter protects not only from the winter "icy" sun, frost, but also from snowfall and wind.

How to build a shelter:

  1. A "hut" is built around the tree from shackles, wooden slats, boards.
  2. From above, the crown is covered with covering material.
  3. The structure is fixed with twine, wire, ropes.
  4. The root part is closed with spruce branches or peat.

Five ways to shelter trees from frost and cold winds

Be sure to cover young trees that survive the first winter, and vaccinations. For them, you can take agrospan or any other agrofiber that is tied with twine as a shelter.

With the help of wire and agrofibre, you can create comfortable covering structures

Sometimes gardeners make a serious mistake by covering young plantings with snow almost completely. The snow begins to melt, and here it is important to free the trees and seedlings from the snowdrift. If you are even a little late, this guarantees the death of young trees: the trunk will swell, the roots will begin to rot, an ice crust will grow on the seedling and it will freeze out on a cold night.

Shelter #3: Root Mulching

The biggest danger is the deep freezing of the soil. The roots are affected, and with strong temperature fluctuations (multiple thawing and freezing), the damage can be irreparable. Mulching can save the roots: the surface of the earth must be “filled” with a thick layer of mulch.

A substrate is taken as mulch - sawdust, peat, hay with soil. The mixture is laid in several stages:

  1. In late autumn, the substrate is thrown onto the near-trunk area on half of the shovel bayonet.
  2. Complete hilling with the composition is carried out with an increase in the height of the shelter.
  3. A glass of wood ash is added - it protects against pests, fungus, mice.
  4. During the period of frost, the bottom of the bole is mulched.
It is impossible to mulch the base of the trunk before the onset of stable cold weather, otherwise the bark will wet. If tightened with shelter, then the soil, on the contrary, will freeze together with the upper root parts. Therefore, it is important to correctly guess the moment: it is ideal when it is already cold, but real frosts have not hit yet.

The mulch should be immediately covered with fallen snow. Remember: the higher the snowdrift under the tree, the more securely the roots are protected.

Mulching should affect the entire root system, it is absolutely impossible to “rake” anything from the base of the trunk!

Shelter No. 4: from burns

During thaws, uncovered boles and crowns should be sprayed or smeared with a special solution. This will help prevent sunburn on very cold days.

Do not use lime - it can corrode organic matter, especially if the bark is damaged. For whitewashing, take chalk or a special garden acrylic whitewash.

For whitewashing, use chalk mortar or acrylic garden whitewash.

In heavy snowfall, branches of trees and shrubs break under the weight of snow, the same problem occurs during a thaw, when the snow is pressed on the crown, begins to thaw and become heavier. So that the branches do not break, you need to regularly shake off the snow, and even better, tie the branches with ribbons.

How to cover trees and shrubs for the winter - 5 important points to end the season - AgroXXI

Fruit trees and shrubs provide us with a tasty harvest of healthy fruits, decorate the site and save significant amounts by allowing us to make preparations for the winter. In response, a grateful owner will always take care of his breadwinners and will take steps to ensure that the trees survive the cold without damage.

Preparing trees for winter will definitely pay off in the next season with a rich harvest.

1. How to cover a tree for the winter.

So, if you planted seedlings in autumn, then the trees must be covered for the winter. How to do it? You can buy a special “wrapper” in the store for this purpose, or you can use traditional burlap wrapping. Remember that seedlings need to be covered for two winters in a row, and young fruit trees or shrubs with thin bark - 5 winters.

For the most budget-friendly option, you can wrap the tree trunk up to the first branches with paper. Be sure to overlap the layers with an overlap, secure them with duct tape or twine. In the spring, of course, the tree must be “unpacked”. Branches located on the leeward side should also be covered with burlap.

Mulch the root zone with a layer of 10 to 20 centimeters around the base of the tree, but spread the mulch at a distance of 50 cm from the trunk. Mulch will protect the tree's root zone from frost and help retain moisture in the soil. Another option for natural mulch is if the tree is healthy, let the leaves fall to the ground and cover the top with a tarp, pressing it down with rocks.

Gently tie young branches against the trunk with twine to prevent snow and ice from adhering and breaking branches under their weight. Take care when wrapping or tying anything to your tree so that the tree trunk is not damaged by bonding materials such as wire. Any damage, even the smallest cut, can leave your tree susceptible to disease and/or ice formation in the area.

Be aware that some coatings, such as clear plastic, act as a greenhouse. When the sun is shining, the temperature increases significantly and this can damage the plant, "scald the bark". The tree will associate warmth with the coming of spring and it will come out of dormancy. And when it becomes very cold again after a few days, tissue death can begin.

If you have planted a heat-loving shrub, in the first winters it is better to build a "house" from bags stuffed with leaves and dry grass, and plywood boards. Pre-tie the branches compactly with twine.

Top the "house" with a tarpaulin and secure it with ropes.

Don't forget to recharge the seedlings in autumn before the ground freezes. Newly planted trees do not yet have deep root systems to draw water from the lower layers.

2. Why is it necessary to cover trees for the winter?

Protecting fruit trees from the cold is an important task if your garden is located in a climate zone with severe winters, the trees do not have winter hardiness, and there is a danger of a lack of snow, which isolates the plants from wind and freezing temperatures.

Extreme conditions such as ice storms, wind and prolonged sub-zero temperatures can damage branches and dry out the tree, make plant tissue more susceptible to injury and sunburn, and lead to root problems as roots are less hardy than the trunk or branches .

Although the soil cools slowly, there are a number of factors that affect soil temperature. You need to know that moist soil retains heat better than dry soil. Sandy soils are colder than loamy soils. Heavy snow cover and mulch act as insulators and increase soil temperatures.

With newly planted trees, you get soil cracks in the planting hole that allow cold air to enter the root zone, reducing root growth or killing newly formed roots. Therefore, in late autumn, check the root zone of seedlings for cracks, sprinkle this area with earth and mulch with wood chips or coarse straw.

Repeated freezing and thawing of the soil in autumn or winter during the thaw causes the soil to expand and contract, which can damage the roots and lift the root system of shrubs or seedlings off the ground. Check your plantings after thaws and keep a supply of mulch on hand.

3. How can and can not mulch trees for the winter.

But mulching is only useful if you use the right mulching product. Using the wrong mulch can be dangerous for your tree.

Using compost or rotted manure to mulch your fruit trees in the fall is a bad idea. This is because nutrient-rich compost or manure will give your trees a boost as they prepare for dormancy. Your tree may produce tender young shoots that will die in the first winter frost, and the plant won't have time to transfer nutrients from the leaves to the roots, making it difficult to survive the winter.

So which mulch to choose? One that decomposes slowly: straw or hardwood mulch, for example. Some people even mulch with gravel. These products successfully insulate the tree's roots from climatic stresses until it comes out of dormancy in the spring.

4. How to protect trees from animal damage in winter?

Mice, hares and deer can damage your trees and shrubs in winter by feeding on twigs and bark, leaves and stems.

The best overall strategy for protecting your trees and shrubs from animals is to reduce the area by creating physical barriers such as covering the trunk with glass wool or netting over paper or burlap wrapping, or installing plastic barriers.

But if you have a lot of trees or shrubs in your yard, using screens and wraps can be too costly and time consuming. In such situations, repellents may be the best solution.

The repellant is not a poison, the drug simply repels animals with an unpleasant and pungent odor. For example, one of the best rodent repellents is Freitenmaus, VE. You can spray the product on trees or shrubs in late autumn. As a rule, in most cases one application is enough to protect trees during one winter.

5. When you can not cover the plants for the winter.

If your trees or shrubs are winter-hardy species and also grow in a place protected from the wind (for example, under the protection of a fence or other structure). If your plants winter well in dry soil and do not like excess moisture, such as evergreen varieties for decorative design of the site.


Learn more