Although Charlotte winters aren’t as brutal as other areas of the country, trees need to be properly cared for to remain healthy during the dormant season.
Just like your puppy, young trees in urban spaces need training to maintain the structure we are looking for. Neglecting to prune may result in poor health or issues in branch structure that worsen as the tree grows, costing you thousands of dollars down the road. However, pruning incorrectly can also hurt the tree. The dormant season (think Thanksgiving through St. Patrick’s Day) is the best time to train prune your young trees, so let’s get to it!
Evaluate your trees for damage from snow or ice, as well as for insects and disease. Weak limbs should be cabled, braced or removed by an arborist in advance of severe weather. Cabling and bracing can help to strengthen weak limbs so they can endure severe weather and ultimately increase their longevity. They should be inspected annually by an arborist.
Lager trees also need pruning! Early spring is usually the time they will start to shed some of their older branches, so you’ll want to get those removed safely before that happens.
It’s a good idea to hire a professional to prune branches that you can’t reach with a pole saw or are over 4 inches in diameter. You’ll want to make sure the tree care company you select has the proper credentials for the safety of the tree’s health and your property.
Charlotte’s winter storms sometimes cover trees with a thin coating of ice. While beautiful, the ice is damaging to the trees, causing limbs to hang heavy and even break from the added weight. Although it may seem like a good idea to shake ice-covered branches to break up the ice, it can actually be more damaging than leaving the branches alone. Ice can make the branches very brittle, and shaking off the ice could cause them to snap back quickly and affect the tree’s circulatory system. For that reason, it is recommended to leave the ice there to melt off naturally.
Fall and winter are a great time to apply mulch to prevent weeds from coming up in the spring. A 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch can also help to insulate the soil and help it retain moisture. Be sure to keep much away from the base of the tree.