How To Avoid Winter Tree Damage in Utah

February 16, 2015

How To Avoid Winter Tree Damage in Utah

Winter tree damage is a real threat in Provo and across northern Utah. Many people believe that deciduous trees hibernate through the winter, immune to problems and risks. In reality, several conditions and predators can harm your trees and potentially kill them. Even your evergreen trees and shrubs are at risk during the cold months. To avoid damage to your trees this winter, read the following helpful information.


Freezing temperatures, especially when combined with harsh winds, snow and bright sunshine, can result in the freezing and drying out of the ground. As a result, water escapes evergreen leaves or needles faster than the plant can replace it through its roots. This drying out, known as desiccation, may damage or even kill trees. Desiccation causes leaves or needles to turn yellow or orange and to take on the appearance of burned foliage. Give your trees and shrubs a deep watering prior to the first freeze and on warm days, whenever they come along. Plant hearty, regional species to protect against desiccation. Locate trees in areas where they will be most protected from the wind but away from bright or reflective surfaces. Add a thick layer of mulch over the entire root canopy to minimize groundwater loss. Beware of commercial anti-desiccant products however, as these are often of little benefit.

Weather Damage

Many winter weather conditions can contribute to damaging or killing your trees. Extreme cold can kill trees not rated for your hardiness zone, and even cause damage to those that are. Mulch and water can help ward off damage; however, covering the trees is the best means of protection. The harsh reflection of the sun can cause sunscald, which triggers the death of bark and eventually, the tree. Cover tree trunks with white wrap during cold months to prevent sunscald. Snow and ice buildup can snap off branches, sometimes taking down the entire tree, either of which can cause injuries or property damage. Clear snow and ice off limbs as much as possible and prop or tie up those that you are unable to clean off. Finally, a quick temperature drop can cause bark to split vertically, known as frost crack. Brace such splits together to reduce further damage.

Animal Damage

Mice or other rodents may find a handy food source in your trees’ bark, especially if there is a warm layer of snow under which to take refuge. If rodents remove the bark all the way around, known as girdling, the tree will usually die. Rabbits eat above the snow line, but cause similar damage. Avoid animal damage by covering the lower parts of trees and large shrubs with wire mesh or screening that stretches from below grade to approximately three feet off the ground.

If you are worried about the damage that winter can bring to your landscaping, contact All Green Pest Control and Lawn Care in the Provo area. Providing a full range of landscape and pest-control services, All Green has the training and experience to help you avoid winter tree damage of all kinds, in Provo and all across northern Utah.