Although Virginia does not experience harsh winters, it does see cold temperatures, snow, and ice. These elements require trees to enter dormancy for survival. They also endanger saplings because young trees tend to have short, shallow roots. Nevertheless, knowledge of common winter tree issues—including frost heave, salt damage, and winter burn—can help you protect your trees. If you see symptoms of these conditions, contact your local tree service for professional help.
Timber Works Tree Care offers a full range of tree services to residents of Chantilly, VA, and the surrounding region. Our options include tree removal, trimming, stump grinding, land clearing, forestry mulching, and more. We take pride in combining outstanding service with thorough tree care knowledge and top-tier equipment. Whatever questions you have or tree services you need, reach out to Timber Works today.
Below, we list and describe 5 common issues with trees during winter as well as how you can alleviate them:
1. Frost Heave
Frost heave occurs within the soil, which cycles through freezing and thawing during winter. When frigid air enters the soil, it freezes the moisture within (which then expands as it shifts from liquid to solid). Ice particles reach down into the soil and chill moisture at deeper layers, resulting in simultaneous upward and downward pressure.
This process creates underground pressure and damages trees over time. Downward pressure compacts the soil, blocking airflow and drainage, while upward pressure damages the soil structure and cracks its surface. The cracks expose tree roots to cold air, drying them out and gradually killing them.
You can protect your trees from frost heaving by covering the soil around them with mulch. Doing so insulates the soil and roots from frost, preventing it from penetrating deep into the soil and causing frost heave.
2. Salt Damage
Both homeowners and municipal workers use a chemical-based de-icer—called “salt” or “ice melt”—to prevent roads and sidewalks from icing over. However, salt can harm trees and shrubs if it comes into contact with them. Salt deposits can form along stems, buds, and roots, stunting growth and endangering trees’ health.
To mitigate these effects, switch from traditional salt to calcium chloride-based de-icing salts, which are less harmful to trees. Also, use it after you shovel ice and snow from your sidewalks and driveway.
3. Damage from Snow/Ice
When snow and ice accumulate on branches, their weight can overwhelm rotting or underdeveloped limbs and break them. Those falling branches then threaten other limbs, trees, and property. While you could try brushing snow and ice off branches, your time would be better spent investing in tree trimming services.
Our trimming experts aim to protect trees and property, so they prune only dead or injured branches. Moreover, they understand that effective trimming supports healthy tree growth, and they apply best practices to give you all the benefits of tree care.
4. Winter Burn
Perhaps the most frustrating impact of winter weather on trees, winter burn—or leaf scorch—describes the bleaching/browning of evergreen foliage during winter. Several conditions cause leaf scorch, all related to temperature fluctuations and winter conditions. Nevertheless, you can protect your trees from winter burn by watering them appropriately before freezing temperatures set in. “Scorched” branches may also need trimming.
5. Winter Drought
We may not consider drought a serious problem during winter, as we worry about bundling up instead of hydrating. Nevertheless, plants—particularly evergreens—struggle to get moisture from frozen sources. You can combat this problem by laying mulch around trees during the fall and watering them before freezing temperatures arrive. The mulch helps the ground retain moisture and deliver sustenance to your trees.
Timber Works Tree Care: Local Tree Service in Chantilly, VA
While your trees may not show great activity or growth during winter, they must endure the conditions. You can help them do so with support and guidance from Timber Works Tree Care, a local tree service company that operates in and around Chantilly, VA. Our top-notch team offers tree removal, trimming, forestry mulching, stump grinding, and more services. For more information on our work, call us at (540) 692-9606 or visit our website for a free project estimate today!