Winter Tree Service Tips

Tree Trunk Injury

Incurring damage to the trunk of a tree is one of the more common problems that can weaken the health of a tree. The outer bark of a tree is the protection system for the inner support and nutrient system of the tree. Even a small amount of damage to the bark can begin to thin the tree’s protection system. Small trees with thin bark layers are especially susceptible to damage.

The most common sources of bark damage are from mowing your lawn and using a grass trimmer near the base of the tree. Take special care around younger trees to minimize damage.

Shade Tree Decline

Shade Tree Decline is defined as a loss of photosynthetic capability due to lack of growth development, dead leaves or a reduced ability to undergo the photosynthetic process. Over time this can result in a decline in growth of the top of the tree and the root structure, a reduction in the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients and a decline in the tree’s defenses against diseases or other stresses.

If this decline continues without taking the proper steps, the tree
will eventually die. Exposure to draught, disease or insect stresses will quickly accelerate the process of decline. Ash, maple, cottonwood, and Elm trees are the most often affected by decline with the onset of diseases.

If you suspect your tree(s) are suffering from this process, it is best to contact a Licensed Arborist as there are a wide variety of reasons to choose from in diagnosing the problem, and offering a solution to correct it.

The most common avenues of prevention are to water trees during
excessive dry periods, protect against bark damage and to plant in areas with good drainage.

Winter Injury

The weather during Colorado’s winter season can experience abnormally low temperatures or conditions, and when that happens trees and shrubs are more open to winter injury. Late fall warm periods can lead to some late season growth, followed by a turn to low temperatures. Late spring frosts after buds have begun to appear can kill off those buds and lead to frost injury. Bark injury, such as bark splitting and breaking, to deciduous trees like Maple, Locust, Willow, Aspen and Fruit trees is common in warm parts of winter where sap flows and then the colder nights cause the sap to freeze and harm the bark. Root injury where there is bare soil, winter drying when low moisture along with ice and heavy snow build-up on tree limbs are also other common types of winter injury.

Here are some steps you can take to minimize winter injury:

  • Plant trees in well drained soils, and spread mulches around the base areas of shrubs and small trees to minimize moisture loss.
  • Water trees and shrubs before the freezing temperatures come.
  • On younger trees, wrap nursery paper or burlap around the bases of trees.
  • Don’t plant trees prone to cracking near tall buildings that will shadow them.
  • Prune dead or damaged branches once new growth has begun.

A Licensed Arborist and tree care professional can help and advise you on any of these preventative maintenance steps.

If you suspect health problems, follow these easy diagnostic steps:

  1. Provide the correct name of the tree or shrub, as many insect and disease problems are unique to certain plants.
  2. Look closely for the changes or evidence of problems
    by comparing it to healthy growth of the same variety, and identify the exact nature of the abnormality (color, shape,
    size, location, etc.)
  3. Check the properties history or the conditions of
    surrounding areas for changes or evidence of similar problems.
  4. The color of the roots may provide a clue. Brown roots
    may suggest lack of moisture or too much chemical
    treatment, whereas black roots may indicate overly wet
    soil or root rot from insects.
  5. Inspect the trunk and branches of a suspect tree for damage, which could provide an entry point for harmful
    insects and organisms.
  6. Take note of changing appearance in leaves for evidence
    of dead leaves at top or curled up leaf conditions.

Diseases can be divided into two main categories: those caused by infectious or living agents such as fungi, viruses and bacteria, and non-infectious diseases as the result of environmental or cultural deficiencies such as temperature, moisture, physical damage, pollutants and insufficient nutrient provisions.

With insects, although most are a benefit, some can be destructive if allowed to flourish. There are three categories of insects, each with different methods of attacking and causing damage to trees, shrubs and plants.

Again, when confronted with evidence of diseases or insect damage, it is best to contact A Family Tree Service’s Licensed Arborist to properly ascertain the best treatment method.

For consultation or help with any suspected tree or shrub health care issues, go to Request Estimate and describe your situation, or call us at: (303) 424-1222