Winter in Calgary can be tough on our trees. The combination of freezing temperatures, Chinook winds, and heavy snowfall can lead to a lot of tree problems. To keep your trees healthy and thriving during the cold season, it's essential to recognize and address these common winter tree issues:
Frost cracks are those long, vertical lines that can appear on a tree's bark when winter temperatures take a nosedive. Calgary's weather can be pretty unpredictable, and these cracks are often a result of the bark's outer layer contracting quickly in the cold while the inner wood, protected by the bark, moves at a slower pace. The bark contracts quickly, leading to these cracks.
To keep your tree in the clear, wrap its trunk with some light-colored tree wrap. Prune any damaged branches, and maintain proper tree care practices to keep the tree robust.
Sunscald can occur throughout the winter months, especially on younger trees with thin bark. Sunscald mainly messes with the outer bark layer. During sunny winter days, the sun beams right through the bark and heats things up. But when night comes, it's back to the cold grind. This temperature whiplash can lead to sunscald, where the bark expands and contracts like crazy.
Give your tree some shade! Wrap it up in tree wrap or shade cloth during winter. Keep the tree hydrated with good soil moisture and a cozy mulch blanket to help control those temperature swings.
Frost heaving, a common winter issue, happens when the winter chill gets into the soil and turns moisture into ice, causing the ground to shift upwards. When the ground starts to freeze, your trees might feel like they're being lifted out of the ground. This can be risky for trees, especially those with shallow roots.
To keep your trees safe, try adding a nice 4 to 6 inch layer of mulch around their base. The mulch works like a cozy blanket, keeping the soil temperatures more stable and protecting the roots from getting too cold. It's an easy way to make sure your trees stay happy during the winter chill!
Heavy snowfall during the winter months can be a significant threat to the well-being of trees. The weight of accumulated snow on tree branches puts a lot of pressure on the branches, and if left unattended, it can result in several consequences like branch breakage, branch distortion, or even snow mold. This typically occurs during heavy snowstorms or prolonged snowy periods.
To address this gently remove snow from branches using a broom or your hand to prevent damage. Proper pruning to reduce branch length can also prevent snow accumulation.