While cold weather does affect your trees, it’s really cold weather that can cause damage. The good news though - is that save for some small setbacks, they can fully recover with a little extra help on your end.
Another challenge trees face is the start/stop nature of weather such as what we’re dealing with. Trees can be tricked into thinking that it’s time to start emerging from their winter slumber, only for winter to rear its nasty head again and damage their shoots, blooms and interrupt spring growth patterns. Many trees will simply bloom again later on in the year, but if you have flower or fruit trees, you might have a greater challenge on your hands.
What kind of damage it can cause
The kind of damage your tree receives will depend largely on the type of tree you have and the problems associated with that particular species – but for the most part, they all show the same general symptoms – browning leaves, crinkling and stunted growth.
How you can ebb the damage
The good news in all of this is that your trees can be saved with a little extra attention on your part.
The first thing you should always do is to be conscious of what the weather is going to be. That way you can better anticipate temperature drops and get ahead of problems before they become issues.
Most of your treatment in the early going simply is simply a waiting game. Once the cool weather has departed, make sure you keep your tree stocked with water throughout the growing season. And when we mean water your tree – we mean really watering your tree by providing a number deep waterings that get nutrients circulating back into your tree as quickly as possible. Doing that once a week should keep your tree healthy and put it back on the right track in short order.
The next thing you can do is to mulch your trees to make sure you lock in moisture. Usually a ring that’s about 2-4 inches deep should provide enough nutrients for the tree to rebound and sprout new leaves. Remember the rule we’ve discussed as well – make sure you’re leaving some distance around the base of the trunk when you mulch. Getting to close can contribute to rotting the base of the tree.
Lastly, once the weather has warmed, it’s a good idea to look for dead branches and prune them. Be on the lookout for cracks, a lack of buds, or even buds that are dried and shriveled. If you’re unsure, there’s always the trusty ‘scratch test’ where you use a knife to lightly scratch a small spot on certain branches and twigs. If the layer underneath the bark is green and moist, you’re fine. If it’s not – and you notice brittle brown layers beneath, then it’s time to prune.
If you’ve done all of this and your tree still isn’t kicking off the way it should, then we recommend calling in a pro as you may have an infection – or at the very least – a problem that requires a deeper solution.
Good luck and stay warm! Spring is right around the corner!