Winter Damage to Evergreens
When most people think of evergreens, they think of a hearty tree that does not lose its leaves during the winter months. Evergreens get their name because they are green throughout all of the seasons. However, winter damage to evergreens can occur. It is important to make sure that you are properly caring for any evergreens that you may have on your property. There are several issues that might develop in your evergreens. Here are some of the things to look for and what you can do about them.
Winter Damage to Evergreens
In evergreens, winter burn is when brown spots appear on the tips and leaves of the trees. Winter burn or winter kill occurs because of water loss that occurs during the winter months. During the summer months, water is absorbed by plants and pumped from the soil into the plant’s roots. The lost water is replaced quickly as the roots continuously absorb and pump water.
Since evergreens retain foliage during the winter months, the loss and transpiration continue all through the seasons. Roots that are in the ground that is frozen do not have a way to replace water. Since the water cannot be replaced, winter burn occurs. The leaves do not get enough water and as a result, they turn brown and die. In severe cases, stem tissue, buds, and even the entire plant might die. Sunny and windy days during the winter can cause more issues as the wind increases the rate of transpiration.
Another problem that might occur is salt damage. During the winter months when salt is applied to roads and sidewalks, it can transfer to the evergreens and cause winter burn. The salt lands on the needles of the trees and contributes to cases of winter burn.
If you have evergreens located near your driveway or by the road, there is not much you can do to avoid salt in the winter. You can use other substances on your driveway, but you cannot change what your city or county uses on the roads.
Recovery from winter kill will depend on how extensive and the type of damage done. You should wait until late spring/early summer before pruning. Some of the areas that look to be dead during the winter or early spring, might have buds that survive. These buds could turn green and fill in around the brown spots. If the areas do not turn green, you should trim the dead areas. Prune branches to about a quarter-inch above the live bud area of the plant.
Winter burn is the most common type of damage to evergreens during the winter months. However, there are other issues that can arise as well. If you notice that your trees are not looking as healthy as normal during the winter months, make sure that you provide them with proper care. A professional tree service will be able to diagnose any issues and provide you with insight on how to solve the problem.
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