How to Care for Trees in Winter


Many types of trees grow naturally in cold climates, producing strong, new growth every year. However, some tree varieties require special care to survive over the winter in many climates. Adequate protection from cold temperatures and drying winds provides shelter from the elements during the winter season. Take a few precautions with new trees and tender varieties of trees before the temperatures drop to ensure healthy trees in the spring.

Step 1

Prune off any dead growth or cracked and broken branches before winter. Use a limb saw to cut away larger dead branches that may pose a hazard to the rest of the tree when ice forms. Remove any apparently diseased growth during this time. Remove rotting fruit and debris from the base of trees to discourage the growth of mildew and bacteria in the soil near your trees.

Step 2

Pile mulch over the roots of the trees and near the base of tree trunks. Avoid using diseased or moldy mulch from a wet compost pile. Use clean grass cuttings or raked leaves to hold moisture near the roots during the dry, winter months. Clean straw, sawdust and shredded bark make useful mulches for this purpose.

Step 3

Wrap the trunks of new trees or those with thin layers of bark. Late in the fall, wrap overlapping layers of tree wrap along the exposed trunks of fragile trees. Tree wraps protect trees from sunscald and damage caused by items brushing against fragile bark. Remove the tree wrap in the spring before the trees show signs of new growth.

Step 4

Protect your trees from foraging animals during the winter months. Place plastic tree guards around the base of young trees with low branches. Use chicken wire hoops around the trunks of larger trees to discourage rabbits and climbing rodents. Use deterrent sprays on trees subject to damage by deer, elk or antelope. Select only sprays indicated for use on the type of trees growing in your yard. Apply the spray deterrent according to the manufacturer's directions.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Limb saw
  • Mulch
  • Tree wrap
  • Tree guards
  • Chicken wire
  • Deterrent spray


  • University of Wisconsin Extension newsletter: Tree and Shrubs- Winter Care
  • University of Georgia: Winterizing Trees
  • South Dakota State University: Winterizing Evergreens
Keywords: winterize trees, winter gardening, protecting tree

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.