How to Winterize Fruit Trees

Overview

Avoid damage to your fruit trees by preparing them for winter in the fall months. Getting your trees ready for winter is not time intensive, nor difficult. While mature trees can benefit from winter protection, young trees may fail to survive if they're not winterized. Perform winterizing as part of your fall garden cleanup. If growing container trees, move them indoors for the winter months. All types of fruit trees benefit from basic winter care, but more sensitive trees--like fig or citrus--may depend upon it.

Step 1

Stop fertilizing fruit trees in the late summer or early fall in preparation for winter. Fertilizing will encourage tender new growth that can be damaged by winter chills. Resume fertilizing when frost danger passes for your area in the springtime.

Step 2

Continue to irrigate your fruit trees through the autumn with 1 inch of water per week. Well watered trees go into winter stronger and are able to ward off some damage. "Mother Earth News" notes that trees can get dehydrated in the winter since they continue to give off water, which exposes them to winter burn.

Step 3

Protect fruit tree trunks by wrapping them in breathable tree wrap. Begin at the bottom of the trunk and wrap around to the end of the trunk (where the tree has branches), overlapping slightly as if you were wrapping tape around bicycle handlebars. Leave this tree wrap on the tree until frost danger passes.

Step 4

String Christmas lights through the tree's branches. On cold nights plug the Christmas lights in; they will warm up the air near your fruit tree, helping prevent frost damage. Remove the lights in the spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Only plant fruit trees that are designed to grow in your hardiness zone to avoid unnecessary frost damage. Trees will not survive despite winterizing if they do not grow in your area. Failure to winterize trees can lead to broken or dead branches or the death of the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Water Tree wrap Christmas lights

References

  • "Mother Earth News": Winterize Your Yard Plants
  • Colorado State University: Fall Is the Time to Winterize Your Garden
  • University of Arizona: Protecting a Citrus Tree From Cold
Keywords: winter care trees, winterizing my garden, winterize fruit trees

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.