Anytime you plant trees or shrubs in your outdoor landscape, you’re making an investment and it’s important you protect this investment all year long, otherwise, you’ll be looking at extra costs for landscape maintenance that could have been prevented. There are multiple signs that will tell you the winter wasn’t nice to your plant life and lucky for you, there are solutions to make it so when warmer weather returns, you’ll plant life will be ready to thrive. Here’s what you would typically see from your plants that have been damaged in the winter and ways you can help prevent winter damage in the future.
Winter Burn and Sunscald
If you noticed that the foliage and stems have dried out and have become a brownish color, these are signs of winter burn. If you have evergreens in your landscape, these are the plants that will show the earliest signs of winter burn. You will see the needles and leaves turn a golden brown. The winter sun, the wind, and cold will turn leaves from other trees and shrubs to appear bleached and have an overall yellowish color. You may also notice what is called sunscald, which is when the bark of your trees get sudden exposure to the sun. The change in temperatures will cause the bark to darken and turn a brown or reddish color, and a small sunken area will appear on the trunks of your trees.
The salt used to de-ice your driveway and sidewalks can also damage your trees and shrubs by drying them out. The salt draws away water that the plants need to grow and the leaves will appear scorched and brown. Salt from salt trucks will also cause the trees and shrubs that face the road appear burned and brown as well if exposed.
Your trees and shrubs act like a gourmet meal for rodents such as mice and rabbits. The winter months mean food can be scarce so these animals will feed off the twigs, branches, and bark of your plant life.
The roots of your trees and shrubs can be killed or injured with temperatures below 5˚F. Plants with frozen roots will wilt and slowly die when it’s time to grow in the spring.