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4 Tips to Protect Your Trees and Shrubs From Winter Damage in Idaho

It’s 23 degrees and blustery — would you head outside without your warm gloves, coat, and hat?

Your trees and shrubs are pretty chilly out there, too. You’ve invested time and money in your green friends.

Have you thought about preventing winter damage to trees and shrubs in Idaho?
Better get to it. Here’s what to do.

How Winter Stresses Your Trees and Shrubs

We know what you’re thinking. Don’t trees and shrubs hibernate for the winter? What's the fuss?

They do. But have you noticed how brutal Idaho winters can be?

Dry winds and winter sun can dry out conifer needles and broadleaf evergreen foliage.

Winter sun can be pretty bright, and hot enough to heat up dark tree bark. That hot bark can crack when the temperature drops suddenly at night.

When a sneaky midwinter thaw hits, plants are tricked into waking up. That tender new growth is vulnerable to the next freeze.

Critters like rabbits, deer, and mice get hungry when food is scarce in the winter. Your trees’ bark is a welcome buffet.

Winter can be fickle, alternately freezing and thawing, heaving new plants out of the ground and leaving their tender roots exposed.

So, how to protect trees and shrubs in winter in Idaho? Take a look:

1. Bring On The Mulch

You might just think about mulch in the spring, but it’s great for preventing winter damage to trees and shrubs. Kind of like that extra quilt you toss on your bed for the winter.

mulch pile to protect trees

Add four inches or so of bark mulch around the base of your shrubs and trees for a layer of toasty insulation. This will help the soil stay frozen, to prevent heaving during freeze and thaw cycles.

Pro tip: keep the mulch a few inches away from trunks to prevent rot and discourage critters from chewing. Which brings us to…

2. Keep the Critters Away

Hungry mice and rabbits love tender young bark. It’s like that chocolate cake you sneak to the kitchen for after bedtime.

Protect the trunks of vulnerable young trees with tree guards. They’re made of plastic or wire. Find them at a garden center or hardware store.

Do deer love browsing on your hedges and shrubs? Wrap them with burlap to deter munching.

3. So Long, Sunscald

The bark of young trees is also susceptible to sunscald. Sure, it’s winter, but there are still plenty of sunny days that can dry out and burn bark, causing permanent, visible damage.

sunscald on ash tree

Protect your trees from winter damage by wrapping the trunks of young trees with paper tree wrap.

This also protects against frost cracks, which happen when dark bark heats up in the sun then quickly cools off in the chill of night.

4. Extra Help for Evergreens

If you have evergreens in windy, exposed areas, consider building a windbreak to protect trees and shrubs in winter by blocking drying winter wind.

Healthy trees and shrubs

You can also wrap shrubs in burlap to keep their needles healthy.

Wrapping them also helps protect from damage from road salt sprayed by passing plows.

Are Your Trees and Shrubs Ready for a New Best Friend?

Now is the time to protect trees and shrubs from winter damage.

But don’t forget about tree and shrub health during the other three seasons, too.

A good plant health care program is your plants’ best friend, offering food and fixes for every pesky problem, from tree and shrub fertilization to insect control to tree injections to boost your trees’ health.

Plant Health Care Services can be added to our Complete Lawn Care Program in Idaho Falls or Boise.

The first step is to sign up for our 6-step complete lawn care program.

You’ll be glad you did.

Choose an Idaho Falls or Boise professional lawn care service that makes it easy, bundling your yard’s most-needed treatments into one convenient, no-fuss plan.

Fertilizing, weed control, grub control. Done.

We’ve got your back.

Got a few minutes? That’s all you need to get started. You can simply:

Then kick back and relax in your healthy, thriving yard.

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Images: mulch, sun scald

Is your lawn ready for a new best friend?

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