The Perfect Winter Blanket

The Perfect Winter Blanket

Snow is the perfect winter blanket for newly planted trees. I often get questions about how to protect new trees from the winter cold. The truth is, the soil is the best insulator of roots there is. The top portion of a tree, providing it is planted in a zone that it is hardy in, is going to be fine with whatever winter throws at it. The tender part is the roots. Roots on a tree are cold hardy to around 27 degrees before they begin to damage from cold. In the ground, the soil insulates the roots from extremes of cold. Soil may freeze 4 feet deep but below the first inch or two it is 30 or 32 degrees the rest of the way down.

A blanket of snow actually acts as an insulator between extremes of air temperature and soil temperature. -10 above with wind chill is still 32 degrees below 6 inches of snow. I prefer a snow cover if the forecast is for a polar outbreak. Even an inch or two is better than open ground and sub zero temps. 

Should you be faced with a polar outbreak and no snow, a thick mulch of straw, bark mulch or leaves will help keep the soil beneath in a cozy winter zone and protect those precious roots.

I too worry about my plants through the winter months but I have learned it is the sharp changes in temperature that do the damage. Normal cold weather with periods of colder weather do much less hard than unseasonable warmth quickly followed by unusually sharp cold spells. It is the rapid change that does the damage.

Late spring freezes after trees have leafed out will do the most damage to a tree, even a mature tree. In spring, the tree has used most of its energy on new growth and flower production. A damaging freeze at that time uses the last of the trees reserves which puts the tree more at risk of insects and diseases.

During winter, when snow and cold are in the forecast, be thankful that naute is providing you a perfect winter blanket to protect your tree from the cold ahead.

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