To wrap, or not to wrap…
That is the question. And no, I am not talking about whether you should be choosing gift bags, festive paper or your kids art work to gift wrap Grandma’s slippers. I am talking about wrapping your trees, before winter sets in for good with the howling white stuff piled up thigh-high everywhere. It can be hard to know, for the novice homeowner, if you should wrap burlap around everything in your yard or if Mother Nature takes care of her own. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of tree-wrapping, shall we.
For starters, can we look at a few photos for a second;
The tree on the left has been wrapped in burlap in preparation for the blasts of snow and ice that come with winter in the Northern climes. It kind of looks like a gnome to me, but the tree certainly won’t get sun or wind burn!
The tree on the right has been left to its own devices and is seen bent double under the weight of its wintry blanket. Quite the winter wonderland there!
Can I point out one thing though? You are looking at two different kinds of trees here. Typically, most deciduous trees (trees that drop their leaves in winter) do not require any extra care in the winter. They might bend due to heavy snow, but this is temporary and the tree will bounce back as soon as the snow is gone. Good news, as how would you go about wrapping a 40-foot oak tree?
That being said, newly planted specimens may need that extra protection from the wind and harsh winter for the first few years. In fact, the sun can do as much damage as either of those things. A tree guard wrapped around a tree’s trunk will help to prevent sun scald, until the new tree’s bark is thick enough to protect it from the winter sun’s harsh rays. Put it on in the Fall and remove it after the last frost in the spring.
Another thing you may want to protect your tree from is salt. We have been salting roads, since there were motorized vehicles. Good for cars that want to get from A to B, but not so good for any vegetation that lies too close to that roadway. If you have a tree planted near said roadway, you might want to protect it from winter slush and salt damage as well. A simple burlap barrier might protect the tree from the worst of the damage, but tree roots don’t like salt either. In future, if you have heavy salt use in your area, new trees should be planted far enough from the road to prevent injury.
What about evergreen trees? More often than not, those are the trees that you see wrapped snug in winter. Again, while newly planted species need the protection, more mature evergreens do not necessarily need to be wrapped. Think about your old-fashioned Christmas tree. If you wrapped it up, you wouldn’t be able to admire its green boughs and branches that have inspired so many beautiful carols. Winter interest is harder to come by as well, so perhaps think about leaving off that bulky burlap this year. There are a few species that do benefit from some winter protection though, such as dwarf Alberta spruce and juniper. If you aren’t sure, feel free to give CLC Tree Services a call to ask us for our professional advice. Better yet, leave us a comment and we will get back to you with your winter, tree-related concerns!
The only other thing you might want to take into consideration when you are deciding whether to wrap or not, is the presence of animals. Mice, deer and rabbits are all looking for harder to come by meals in the heart of winter. A tasty tree is just the thing to nibble on, be it tender twigs, attractive foliage or just plain bark. If you are concerned about pesky critters decimating your plants, then a wire-mesh tree ring might be just what you need. Make sure it is bigger than your tree, to prevent impeding tree growth, but not too large that Peter Rabbit can wiggle has way in for a midnight snack.
If you are looking for more information on how to go about wrapping your tree, these sites are helpful http://bit.ly/sDVhF0, http://bit.ly/tDtqqU, as well as this one for general care http://bit.ly/uLwpXv. Your local arborist is your best source for your tree care needs though and if you are in London, Ontario, then that would be me, Curt and the crew from CLC Tree Services!