Here in Greater Atlanta, we don’t experience the kind of brutal winter weather that much of the country suffers from – and, hey, you don’t hear us complaining about that, either!
That said, wintertime in North Georgia can still pack a nasty punch: from subfreezing cold snaps to ice storms and occasional snowfalls. It’s important, therefore, to think about protecting your trees ahead of the colder months – and to know what to do if they do suffer damage from Old Man Winter.
Winter Weather Threats to Trees
Even though it’s modest compared to the blizzards and Arctic frigidness more northerly locations deal with, Atlanta’s winter weather can definitely cause problems for trees.
Trees that have been properly hardened off by the normal transition to wintry conditions – by the shortening of days and modest exposure to bouts of chilly weather – are usually quite resilient in the face of our cold spells. But early cold snaps may cause more damage if trees haven’t had time for this seasonal process.
Low temperatures can damage or kill plant cells and tissue (especially buds and the cambium layer) and also stymie growth and metabolism, maybe to the point of diminishing a tree’s condition. Too much sunshine and warmth in winter can even be an issue, promoting frost cracks and sunscald. And sunny, windy days in winter—winds can be fierce this time of year due to more extreme temperature contrasts and thus stronger weather fronts—may cause desiccation in evergreens.
Then, of course, there’s the winter precipitation we mentioned. Freezing rain and ice storms can cause major damage to trees by coating their branches (and, if present, their foliage) in a heavy glaze, threatening to crack off boughs or even topple weaker trees. Our occasional snowfalls may also overload canopies, mainly those of conifers and broadleaf evergreens that hold foliage through the winter.
Tree Maintenance & Care With Winter Weather in Mind
There’s plenty you can do before full-on winter sets in to protect your trees. Evaluate the condition of your trees, identifying ailing, broken, or dead boughs that should be removed in case winter weather causes them to fall. Make sure trees are properly watered, fertilized, and otherwise cared-for during the growing season, which encourages a generally healthier, hardier condition for winter challenges (and also develops a deeper, larger root system less vulnerable to cold weather).
Wrapping or even painting bark, plus erecting shading screens of some kind, can shield vulnerable trees from sunscald and frost-cracking.
Dealing With Hazardous Trees: Turn to Excel Tree Care, Atlanta Tree Removal Experts
If you need to evaluate the condition and health of your trees ahead of winter weather – or you need to safely remove winter-damaged branches or entire trees – look no further than the team here at Excel Tree Care!