Winter in Ohio… One day it will be 40 degrees and sunny, and the next day it’ll be 15 degrees and you find yourself in the midst of a snowstorm. You just never know what the Ohio winter will bring. Author R. Allen Woods put it best when he said, “if you don’t like the weather in Ohio, just wait 15 minutes!”
One thing we know for sure is that with Ohio winters come a plethora of threats to our trees and shrubs. Heavy snow, pests and critters, cold winds, the sun, and everything in between. Knowing how to best protect your trees and shrubs through the winter season is imperative, as it ultimately leads to a beautiful (and thriving) landscape come spring. Here are 3 ways to protect your trees and shrubs from winter damage!
One of the biggest threats your trees and shrubs are facing this winter are pests. Here are two of the more common Ohio pests you may find on your trees and shrubs this winter:
- Scale bugs - These nasty parasites attach to the stem and suck out moisture and other essential nutrients from the plant. Due to the fact that they vary in shape and size, they may be difficult to identify. If you see unusual lumps on the stem/branch, you may have a scale bug infestation on your hands.
- Spruce spider mites - These cold seasoned mites will feed on the sap from the host, which in serious cases can result in the death of the plant. They can be brown, yellow, or red in color. They also have two large spots on their backs, which can aid in identification.
The best way to keep these pests off (and away) from your trees and shrubs is by utilizing a dormant oil. This is an insecticide mix of oil and water that, when applied, works as a defense system against any pests trying to latch onto your tree or shrub for the winter. The oil suffocates any living pests, and eliminates any eggs ensuring protection not only in the winter, but in the spring as well.
Another threat your trees and shrubs are facing this winter are the freezing cold winds. Being as close to lake Erie as we are, these winds are very common. They can suck the moisture from exposed trees and shrubs, which can result in wind burn, drought, and ultimately winter kill.
The best way to combat these issues is to have wilt pruf applied to your trees and shrubs. Wilt pruf adds a protective coating to the branches and stems, which ensures the moisture does not escape during high-stress times.
The sun can also be a threat to your trees and shrubs this winter. The main disease caused by the sun is called sunscald. This is where the bark of the tree freezes, and then is rapidly warmed up by the sun, which results in permanent visible damage.
Wrapping your trees first and foremost protects them from sunscald, but that’s not the only benefit. Tree wrap also protects the bark from damage caused by critters (rabbits and deer), insects, and the wind.