Winter Tree Care- Everything You Need to Know | Arbor Masters

Winter Tree Care- Everything You Need To Know

Find out everything you need to know about oak tree pruning and signs of oak wilt.

Taking care of your trees during the winter

Everyone loves fall foliage, but most people don’t realize the key to a gorgeous tree relies on taking good care of it through the winter. During harsh winters, trees need extra care to protect them and set them up for a successful growing season. Wind, ice and heavy snow can damage shade and ornamental trees, splitting trunks, twisting or breaking key limbs or even uprooting trees altogether. Cracked or broken limbs leave trees vulnerable to insects and diseases that can emerge in the spring.

Lucky for you, our certified arborists at Arbor Masters can help you detect damage from winter storms in your trees. To learn more about what to look for during your tree’s dormancy period this winter, read our tips below and contact us today!

When do trees go dormant?

The dormancy period is a time of year when trees are inactive. This generally occurs in winter, when temperatures are too cold for tree growth. During their dormancy periods, trees can benefit from preventative care to ensure they don’t suffer during winter storms.

Identifying the five most common threats to trees in the winter

Winter tree care threat #1: wind damage

During strong winter storms, wind can be just as destructive – if not more – than the chilling conditions. Tree wind damage can manifest in a variety of ways, including broken or cracked branches, leaning trees or completely uprooted trees.

Winter tree care threat #2: ice damage

In the Midwest and especially across southern states, where snowfall isn’t as common in the winter, ice can accumulate very quickly. The weight of ice accumulation on trees can cause serious damage including broken or cracked branches, irregular curving and complete tree uprooting.

Winter tree care threat #3: snow damage

Similar to wind and ice damage, snow accumulation on trees can lead to broken or cracked branches, leaning trees or completely uprooted trees. Snow melt can also erode the area around your trees exposing the roots.

Winter tree care threat #4: winterburn

Even in the winter when trees aren’t actively growing, they still need adequate watering. Winterburn is a type of damage that can occur when evergreen trees don’t receive enough water. Winterburn can cause brown or yellow patches on the needles of evergreens and can lead to needle drop. If you notice significant needle drop on your evergreen trees, contact us today.

Winter tree care threat #5: salt

Salt used to melt ice and snow on roadways, sidewalks and driveways can damage the roots of trees and shrubs that encounter it. This type of damage is most common in trees and shrubs that are located near winter de-icing operations. Symptoms of salt damage include leaf scorch, browning or yellowing leaves, wilting leaves and branch dieback.

How can I prevent winter damage to my trees?

Our team of certified arborists specialize in plant health care including routine winter servicing of your trees. Contact us today to get started with your unique plant health care plan. There are several steps our team recommends taking to prevent winter damage to your trees, including proper pruning, mulching, watering, checking for hollow cavities and removing dead or dying trees from your property.


Adding adequate mulch around your tree helps to protect its roots from winter weather. Be sure to leave a few inches of space between the trunk and the mulch so that it doesn’t touch the tree. This will help prevent rodents from setting up winter homes in the mulch and chewing on the tree’s bark leading to other health issues for your tree.


Even in the thick of winter, trees need water – especially evergreens. Watering during winter helps reduce wind damage, winterburn and provides needed hydration during winter’s dormancy period. Water slowly so that the water has time to seep down to the roots.

Anti-Desiccant Application

Arbor Masters offers an anti-desiccant application during the winter, typically January and February, to help trees such as pines, arborvitae, juniper and cypress that suffer from winter wind burn retain moisture.


At Arbor Masters, we’ve been caring for trees since 1956. we know there’s a deep connection between you and your trees. From celebrating a new beginning, to nurturing growth and enjoying their company on a warm summer day. And it’s time to check in on those tree(s) again!

We recommend pruning mature trees at least every 18-36 months, and with the extreme conditions our area has been experiencing lately, it’s especially crucial to catch issues with our trees before they become a problem. Landscape trees need a higher level of care to maintain structural integrity and aesthetics. Pruning must be done with an understanding of the tree biology because improper pruning can create lasting damage or shorten the tree’s life.

Winter is a critical time for your trees. By taking some simple steps to care for them and treating them to routine plant health care, you can help ensure their survival through the winter months and set them up to thrive in the spring. Contact us today to set up a plant health care plan from our certified arborists.

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