Winter Tips: Protecting Trees From Frost

Protect Your Trees from Freeze

When protecting trees from frost, the temp can’t be under 32 degrees over a persistent period of time. You don’t want it cold enough to freeze the leaves, fruit, buds/blossoms, and twigs.

Trees Most Vulnerable to Damage:

Catalpa, Oleander, Eugenia, Jacaranda, and other tropical plants are most likely to be damaged. Tender, new growth is tender and easily harmed by freezing temps.   

Protect Your Plants and Trees:

Cover vulnerable plants and trees with tarps, burlap, sheets, etc. that go to the ground to shut in the earth’s stored warmth. Use stakes or a frame to reduce contact between the foliage and the cover. Transport trees and potted plants to more protected areas. Contact Harrisburg Tree Service to help you if needed.

Thoroughly Water Plants:   

Moist soil will soak up a greater amount of solar radiation when compared to dry soil and will re-emit warmth in the nighttime.

If you possess a big tree that requires protection, having your sprinklers on at the coldest time of the day can bring it a slim edge. The approach makes use of latent heat discharged when water transforms from solid to liquid.

When ice crystals develop on the leaf surface, they take moisture from the leaf tissue. The harm from this dehydration will be less damaging if the plant isn’t already suffering from drought.

Advanced Planning for Freeze: 

  • Get rid of weeds from under your trees’ canopies. Bare soil reflects and absorbs heat best.
  • Wood chip mulch insulates roots and halts soil moisture loss.
  • Put frost-sensitive plants close to sources of reflective heat such as walls and buildings.

Help Trees Recover:

Do not trim anything off right away. Wait to see what flourishes in the spring. The damage is usually not nearly as bad as it first appears. New growth might come out of the tissue you believed was dead.

If dieback is bad enough and your tree has lost “shade,” safeguard the now-unshaded parts of the trunk/branches from the sun with whitewash or a physical cover. Get rid of mushy fruit while still salvageable for juicing or snacking. 

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