When seasons change in New Zealand, farmers and homeowners have to adjust the way they care for plants, animals and trees on their property. Lower temperatures or increased precipitation can put certain species at risk of infection, breakage, or freezing. As the temperatures start to drop, the experts at Jim’s want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to protect and nourish your trees.
Consult the following tips on how to prepare your trees for the upcoming autumn and winter months. With proper preparation and professional advice from New Zealand arborists, you can feel confident in the health of your farm or garden, even through freezing temperatures and snowfall.
1. Clear Fallen Fruit and Debris
During Autumn, leaves will fall around the tree and create a space for pests and diseases to grow. Prevent these diseases from spreading to the tree by keeping the area around your trees clear of any litter or leaf matter that collected over the previous months. Clearing the area also allows for a healthy flow of air during the winter months. Start this process early in the autumn to prevent a long afternoon of work in the winter.
2. Apply Spray to Prevent Pests
Take preventative measures to keep pests from burrowing around your trees. Sprays are available to deter pests without harming the tree. These sprays may be made out of natural ingredients. Consult a professional arborist about the best methods for preventing pests from disturbing your trees.
3. Mulch Around the Tree
Although they may look almost dead during the winter months, this time of year is essential in the life cycle of a tree as the cold weather allows your trees to enter a dormant growth stage and stock up on all the essential nutrients they have used for growing during the warmer months.
A good way to help your trees along at this time of year is to protect them at the roots with a small amount of mulch. Mulching is beneficial for trees and gardens year-round, but especially in the winter. During the winter months, a thin layer of mulch act like a blanket over the soil and keeps tree roots warm. When the tree experiences rain or water, mulch can help to retain that water and make it easily available to the trees. Certain types of mulch can also deter pests as they look for a spot to make a nest during the winter months.
Homeowners should mulch around their trees once every six months. Be careful not to over-mulch your trees though, a thick layer can prevent enough oxygen getting to the roots and encourage pests.
4. Protect your Trees against Cold Weather
One way of minimising damage to your tree in areas of snow fall, such as stress breakage, is to be prepared and install some barriers to the cold before winter sets in. Placing a protective fence around your tree or trees can help to prevent snow gathering around the trunk after snowfall.
You could also wrap the trunk of you tree in a protective fabric such as burlap which will help to prevent the cold weather and frost from effecting the tree. This is essential for younger trees, where bark can become easily damaged by rapid thawing caused by winter sunshine. This is also known as sun-scald.
5. Learn How to Remove Snow and Ice
Freezing precipitation can cause damage. Snow and ice can weigh down branches and possibly cause breakage. Gently remove snow and ice soon after it has accumulated on the branches. Brush snow off branches with an upward motion to prevent breakage. Dump hot (but not boiling) water on branches to melt ice and take weight off of the tree.
6. Prune your Trees
Tree pruning is an essential part to tree care throughout the year, and winter is the best time to prune trees and other plants. Pruning is the process of removing damaged branches or limbs in order to benefit the rest of a tree. This process has a variety of benefits, including weight reduction and increasing the tree’s visual appeal. When the sun comes closer to the earth during the winter, trees cast a larger shadow and prevent the rest of your yard or garden from experiencing the sun.
Pruning branches during this time can allow your garden to breathe and enjoy the sunshine. It can help sustain their health over the winter months as you are removing any dead or dying branches to aid in the overall health of the tree. Winter is also a great time to prune trees because tree branches are barren and it is easy to see what branches do not look healthy or are causing problems.
7. Remove Damaged and Hazardous Branches
Winter weather can be hard on your trees. Fallen trees and branches can cause damage to property, infrastructure and even a risk to life. As a resident of an area you have a responsibility to look after your trees to make sure they do not pose a risk to others.
Before the bad weather hits, a sensible first step to take is to to inspect your trees for any potential issues. You can then take steps to cable, brace or remove any problem branches that hang over your house, car or the sidewalk. A trained team of arborists could also take care of any issues for you in just a few hours, using the proper equipment to ensure safety, cut branches or trunks without hassle and dispose of branches or stumps properly.
8. Consult an Arborist
Tree maintenance can be time-consuming and dangerous. If you have any queries about the health of your trees, it is always a sensible idea to get the help of a professionally trained arborist. Ranging from a report on the heath of your trees to providing services such as removing trees that pose a risk to property, save yourself a headache and let the professionals do the work for you both safely and quickly!
Jim’s Trees are tree maintenance specialists who proudly offer services to residential, commercial and government clients in a number of locations across New Zealand. We also have firewood available for sale to keep your home warm during the winter months. Our firewood is delivered directly to your door so you don’t have to travel through snow or cold temperatures. Prepare your property for the winter, inside and outside of your home.
Get a free online quote from Jim’s Trees here.