Winter Tree Care Instructions

With winter fast approaching and temperatures dropping, you might be wondering – is there anything I need to do, or should do, to prepare my tree for the harsh Canadian climate? There is! This past summer we gave away thousands and thousands of tree saplings, these Winter Care Instructions are to help those little trees survive until Spring. Of course, these instructions can be used for any small tree, regardless if you received it from us. The first winter after planting your tree is extremely critical as it can be very hard on the tree to adjust to such adverse weather conditions for the first time. These tips and tricks will give your little saplings its best chance at survival for the upcoming cold.

Here’s what to do:

Place small wooden or metal stakes in the ground, circling your tree, make sure the stakes are at least as tall as your sapling. Wrap chicken wire around the stakes, forming a sort of barrier. Then fill this with leaves and/or paper strips. You can also tightly but gently wrap it in an insulating material. This material can be anything from thin cardboard strips, hemp tree covering material, or simply some soft, natural substance.

Materials list:

  • 4 wooden or metal stakes (taller than your tree)
  • Chicken wire
  • Dead leaves or paper strips
  • Something to wrap around your tree – burlap, thin cardboard, hemp tree covering, other natural substance (Optional)

Winter-Protection-58073d895f9b5805c23e0342

Photo Source: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-overwinter-container-plants-1402050

Why is it important to prepare your tree for winter:

  • Protection from animals: Damage to the tree done by small animals is actually one of the biggest problems during the winter. Due to the lack of food and access to fresh greenery, small animals such as mice, squirrels, or rabbits will chew on the fresh bark of your tree. The chicken wire barrier will help keep these hungry critters away.
  • Protection from soil damage: Soil and roots can be damaged when the soil is freezing and thawing, which can happen many times at the beginning and end of winter. Helping to regulate the freeze and thaw can really protect the roots of your tree from this threat. The leaves/paper will help with this!
  • Provide the tree with insulation: Young saplings are very fragile and our winters are very harsh! It is important to help protect your sapling by insulating it against these cold winter temperatures.  The bark of your sapling is also very sensitive, wrapping it in some sort of natural material will help protect it. The sun in the winter can be quite bright and amplified when reflecting off of the snow, the bark of your tree can be damaged by this sunlight. The leaves/paper also help insulate your tree, or you can wrap it to help protect against these threats.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at treeottawa@ecologyottawa.ca.

We hope your sapling is doing well and will survive the winter with these tips and tricks!

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