Tips for Winter Tree Care

snow covered trees in winter

True, winters in Atlanta aren’t all that bad compared to much of the country – and that’s the way most of us like it! That said, wintertime in this part of the country can still be a bit on the harsh side, with wild temperature swings, ice storms, and cold winds.

All of that speaks to the value of properly tending to your trees during the challenges of an Atlanta winter. Let’s run down some basics while noting that the expert team here at Excel Tree Care is ready to assist with any and all of your North Metro Atlanta tree maintenance and removal needs in the coming months!

Common Winter Issues With Trees

fallen tree due to snow

Atlanta’s winters are, on the whole, quite mild. But we can still definitely experience multiple days below freezing, and also the occasional ice storm and snowfall.

Actually, a blanket of snow can help insulate the above- and below ground parts of plants from the harshest effects of cold temperatures. So frigid fronts over snowless ground, as we frequently experience here in Atlanta, can be a significant issue in terms of cold damage to vulnerable vegetation.

Among the most serious stressors that trees and other plants face during the winter is drought, not so much cold weather itself. Frozen soil and seasonally reduced root activity lead to lessened water uptake; add a chilly, desiccating wind to the equation, and you have the potential for significant water loss in a tree during the winter. This is most pronounced in conifers and evergreen broadleafs that continue to transpire water through their leaves in the winter; deciduous hardwoods are somewhat less vulnerable.

Extreme swings in temperature or ice storms can also cause buckling and breakage among trees. When we do get the odd heavy snowfall, that can be an issue of mechanical damage as well, breaking off overloaded limbs or even toppling trees and shrubs.

Winter Tree Care & Upkeep

Due to the risk of desiccation, it’s important to keep watering on the radar during the winter, even though it seems strange – especially compared with a sweltering dry spell in the summer – to worry about moisture deficits in December or January. Watering ahead of a big cold snap or winter windstorm is a good idea. Moist soil is also a better insulator than dry soil.

Judicious mulching can also help protect against moisture loss as well as generally buffer trees from the coldest, harshest weather. Just be sure not to pile the mulch right up against the tree trunk, which can invite fungal damage and pest infestation.

As late fall eases into winter, make sure you have your tree carefully and professionally inspected to ensure it’s in good shape for the cold season. Remove dead or dying branches to lower the chance of cold, ice, or snow-related breakage and potential resulting property damage or injury.

Late winter into early spring is prime time for pruning many (though definitely not all) trees and shrubs. Besides the fact that many hardwoods, including fruit trees, and evergreens benefit from pruning this time of year, the winter nakedness of deciduous trees makes it easier to assess their canopy shape and prune accordingly.

trees pruned after winter

Contact Excel Tree Care for Winter Tree Care in Atlanta

Whether it’s Atlanta tree pruning, dead-branch (or dead-tree) removal, or simply a property-wide tree assessment, get in touch with Excel Tree Care so you and your arboreal treasures are ready for wintertime! Based in Alpharetta, we serve clients and customers all over the North Atlanta Metro Area, offer free quotes, and pursue a rigorous “Leave No Trace” approach in all of our work. We’re also there for you 24/7 when it comes to emergency tree