Though winter temperatures in Oregon are usually mild, there are still cold snaps that can bring snow and ice, desiccating winds, and, most of all, so much rain that it can cause roots to rot. The good news is that there are several things you can do to protect your trees and shrubs during our sometimes difficult winters.
Aerate the Soil
The reason that too much water is bad for many trees and shrubs is that excess water keeps the roots from getting oxygen and nutrients. Soggy soil also makes it easier for large trees to simply fall over. Though you can’t control Oregon’s rainfall, you can help get oxygen into the soil with an aerator. If the ground really gets wet in the winter, consider installing a drain pipe, or just install trees and shrubs that like it wet, such as camellias, willows, or dogwoods.
Remove Dead Branches
Fall isn’t the best time to give trees and shrubs a hard pruning because of the risk of a freeze later on in the year, but it’s always good practice to remove dead or diseased branches. Winds can break these branches off anyway, which can cause damage to structures or even people. Some flowering shrubs such as roses or hydrangeas can be pruned back lightly and then hard pruned at the very end of winter. However, spring-flowering shrubs should be left alone until after they bloom.
Leave Some Leaves on the Lawn
Though there shouldn’t be so many leaves left on the grass that the grass is cut off from sunlight and nutrients, some leaves should be left to break down and feed the grass and soil. It’s even better to chop the leaves into mulch and work them in. Healthy leaves can also be tossed into the compost pile to break down. They can be gathered up and placed in a layer around shrubs and trees. Make sure that they don’t go all the way up to the trunk, for this can cause rot.
One caveat is to not use black walnut or butternut leaves in compost or mulch. These leaves excrete an acid called juglone, which is toxic to most other plants.
Protect Against Freezes
Protections against freezing weather ideally begin before you plant your tree or shrub. Check the plant’s hardiness zone number, then put it in a place where cold air doesn’t collect. These places would be the bottoms of hills or around obstructions such as fences or walls. Wrapping trees and shrubs in burlap or a tarp gives them extra protection, especially if they’re young.
Call Us for More Information About Winterizing Your Trees
Our family-owned and -operated tree service is proud to serve our customers in the Redmond area and central Oregon. Our arborists are second to none when it comes to customer satisfaction. Besides giving tips on how to keep your shrubs and trees safe during our winters, we provide services such as trimming and pruning, tree removal, emergency services, and stump grinding. We’re happy to serve both commercial and residential customers. Give 4 Brothers Tree Service a call today.