As the leaves start to turn and the weather starts to cool, it’s time to think about preparing your trees for winter in New Hampshire & Maine. From the lakes region to the seacoast, the colder months mean frequent frosts, freezing temperatures, heavy wet snow, and freezing rain — all weather that can potentially harm or kill your trees.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your trees for the coming season. We put together a simple fall tree care checklist that you can follow at home to get your trees winter-ready and ensure they stay healthy and safe through the winter months.
1. Water your trees regularly, especially during the fall.
As the temperatures start to cool and the days get shorter, it’s important to remember to water your trees regularly. While they may not grow as quickly as they do during the spring and summer months, they still need a steady supply of moisture to stay healthy through the winter. Since this is an area that gets moderate snow, make sure to water your trees before the first snowfall because it will help them to withstand the harsh conditions better and keep them from drying out. Remember that young trees, especially new evergreen trees and shrubs, need more water than mature trees, so adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
2. Prune and/or remove any dead or damaged branches.
One of the most important tasks is to prune trees and remove any dead or damaged branches. This helps the tree to focus its energy on staying healthy and strong during the cold months. It also helps to prevent any weak branches from causing damage during winter storms. In addition, Winter Pruning can be a great opportunity to shape and thin out certain species of trees and shrubs and encourage new growth in the spring. So, before winter sets in, be sure to give your trees a good pruning or call our tree care team for an assessment.
3. Monitor for pests and diseases.
It’s important to take a close look at your plants and ensure they are healthy and strong. New Hampshire winters can be tough on plants and trees, and if they are already stressed from pests or diseases, they may not make it through the season. Check for signs such as yellowing leaves, spots, or discoloration. If you see any of these signs, take action immediately. Remove any diseased or damaged leaves and treat the plant with pesticides or fungicides.
4. Fertilize late summer/early fall.
As the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, trees begin to enter a state of dormancy. During this time, they will stop growing, and their metabolic activity will slow down. In preparation for winter, it is important to fertilize trees before they enter this dormant state. Fertilizing helps to ensure that trees have the nutrients they need to survive the winter and encourage new growth in the spring. It is best to apply fertilizer in early fall before the leaves begin to change color. This will give the trees time to absorb the nutrients before they enter dormancy.
5. Protect newly planted young trees and shrubs.
Staking or stabilizing newly planted trees and shrubs can help them survive cold, snowy windblown winters. Assess your geography to see which factors could harm new or young trees and shrubs. Consider staking trees for added support from wind, covering smaller ornamental trees and shrubs with “A” Frame structures, or using burlap to help prevent desiccation over the winter. Also, take a look around to see if you have deer-loving plants in the yard. Deer damage has increased in the past few seasons, and some simple techniques can help minimize the potential for deer damage.
Fall is a great time to inspect your trees and take care of any needed maintenance before winter sets in. By following our fall tree care checklist, you can help protect your trees from the cold weather and prepare them for a healthy spring. If you have any questions or need assistance with tree care, please don’t hesitate to contact us.