Protecting Trees From Winter Damage & Sun Scald
Cold and windy Front Range winters can wreak havoc on trees. Young trees in particular are vulnerable to sun scald, a type of “tree sunburn” that cracks open tree bark, creating the conditions for disease to fester.
Sun scald tends to occur during weather fluctuations, such as when the tree bark heats up on a sunny day and cools later when the temperatures drop at night. Older trees generally have tougher bark and better insulation and therefore are not at as much risk for sun scald. However, newly planted trees and trees and thin-barked trees (such as ash and maple trees) are more sensitive in cold weather conditions. Additionally, recently pruned tree with branches suddenly exposed to more sunlight are also susceptible to this type of damage.
Fortunately there are some steps you can take to protect your trees from harmful effects of variable winter temperatures. Here are some great options on how to protect trees during winter.
Option 1: Wrap the trunk with tree wrap. Tree wrap helps the tree maintain a more constant temperature. You can buy a commercial tree wrap from your local garden store. In early November, apply the wrap around the base of the tree. Make sure to remove the wrap shortly after the last frost in the spring to prevent disease from growing under the wrap as the weather warms up.
Option 2: White wash your tree. A couple of coats of white wash on your tree trunk help reflect sunlight, keeping the tree bark cool on sunny days. This in turn can reduce tree bark cracks. White wash is often especially effective at protecting fruit trees, so orchardists commonly utilize this method. You can mix up a homemade white wash by combining equal parts water and white latex paint together. Allow the first coat to dry before applying the second coat.
Try either of these options to protect your trees from our infamous Colorado winters. If you would like an expert’s assistance in preparing your trees for the upcoming cold season, give us a ring at Detailed Landscaping. We’ll be happy to wrap your trees so you can focus on wrapping holiday gifts instead.
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