Arborist Tree Care Tips: Preparing Your Trees for Winter

The wintry wet weather has arrived in the Portland metro area, and the leaves are falling. However, that doesn’t mean tree care is not crucial during this time. Today we’re discussing what homeowners can do to prepare their trees for winter. We will also cover winter care for fruit trees, which are a bit more complicated.

Over-winter. The winter months are an important part of a tree’s life cycle. Although deciduous trees lack leaves and apparent vitality during the winter, this dormant period actually serves an important purpose—namely the renewal of vital energy reserves for the following year’s growth. The natural winter dormancy of many trees, as well as the improved visibility when leaves are gone, makes winter a good time for pruning and other maintenance tasks.Tree branch with snow frost

Pruning. The idea behind regular pruning is to promote the development of a healthy branch structure, and to remove any limbs that have been damaged or show disease. Crossing branches, and branches that are too close together can be removed. However, it is not recommended that you trim the tree yourself because if a cut is made improperly, it will not heal and ultimately cause damage to the tree, or invite disease. It can also be tricky to predict how a pruning cut will affect future growth. For all of these reasons, it is best to hire Portland certified arborists for tree trimming services.

Mulch. Some mulch is good, but you shouldn’t overdo it. A thin layer of mulch protects the soil and the roots much like a blanket. Too much mulch, or improperly placed mulch however, will suffocate plants while inviting pests such as rodents.

Stakes. Now is a good time to remove stakes, inspect growth, and re-stake if needed.

Planting. Given our mild winters, early fall can be a good time to plant in Portland. As long as the ground is not frozen, planting should be fine, although care should be taken with soggy soils. A professional Portland tree service will ensure that planting is done correctly- i.e. the tree is delivered safely, the soil properly prepared, and the tree is planted at the correct level, among other concerns. Mulching may also be provided.

Weeding, Garden Clean Up, Soil Testing. The winter months are a great time to tackle weeds. This may also be a good time for general cleanup, especially after stormy weather has left branches strewn about your yard. If you detected problems in the previous grow season, you may also want to consider testing your soil. Our Portland certified arborists can handle soil testing efficiently. Plus, they can help you understand the results and identify a course of action for future care.

Fruit Trees. Fruit trees often require additional care and maintenance. The general goal is to promote the growth of the fruiting body and ultimately obtain a bountiful harvest at the end of the next growing season. Toward this end, fruit trees require a proper balance and supply of nutrients, and they should also be monitored for pests, and treated if needed. Depending on the situation, a variety of organic and integrated pest management (IMP) solutions are available that reduce the need for potentially toxic chemicals. An ISA certified arborist that is knowledgeable about fruit tree care can prepare your fruit trees for next year’s harvest.

Don’t forget to contact us about winter tree service. Portland, OR property values are on the rise, and as a homeowner your property is most likely your biggest investment. Don’t take your tree and yard care lightly, and try to avoid pruning or landscaping projects you are unsure of. Call Urban Forest Professionals today, and we’d be glad to survey your land and offer our professional recommendations. Our arborists are ISA-certified, licensed, insured, and bonded. You can be absolutely sure of the quality care we provide.

And for more tips and tricks about how to care for your trees year-round see our seasonal tree maintenance plan.

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