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How To Recognize and Treat Winter Damage To Trees

Let’s go over what you can recognize and how you can help your trees in the winter (and specifically Crepe Myrtles if you have them).

How To Recognize and Treat Winter Damage To Trees

Are you starting to notice the effects of winter on your trees? While some damage may not be noticeable yet, you may soon get clear indications for concern. Plus, with the potential for temperature drops through spring, it pays to know what to look out for and what actions to take. 

Let’s go over what you can recognize and how you can help most of your trees (and specifically Crepe Myrtles if you have them).  

How Does Winter Damage to Trees Occur?

winter-frost-damage-to-trees-300x200All trees have some degree of tolerance to cold temperatures. When temperatures pass this point, that’s when damage can occur. This is especially true when trees aren’t able to reach a state of dormancy first. Add on winter weather and rapid temperature changes and damage gets even more likely. 

Winter damage is an all-encompassing term. It can vary in severity and result in everything from branches barely hanging on to mold and cracks in trees. In the worst-case scenarios, it can even result in trees dying. 

To help, here are some of the best ways to make sure damage is less likely and significant. 

Preventing Winter Tree Damage

The right prevention methods can make a big difference each year. Consider the following for your trees for upcoming winters: 

  • Know when not to prune: Avoid pruning late in the summer. This will actually get trees growing again and leave them more open to future damage. 
  • Be careful with de-icing salts: These can potentially damage a tree as they travel through the air or reach its roots. Consider an alternative like sand if possible. 
  • Apply mulch around tree trunks: The more insulated and moist roots are, the more healthy a tree will generally be through winter.
  • Keep icicles away: Knock them off with a tool if they start forming. 
  • Clear out nearby grass and weeds from the bases: Otherwise, animals may see this as an open invite for food and get drawn to the trees. 
  • Wrap up what you can: Wrapping branches together with twine or cloth can help them survive through snowfalls. For trunks, a burlap or chicken wire wrapping can keep animals away (stuffing it with straw is an easy way to increase insulation, too). 

Treating Winter Tree Damage

Even the best prevention steps can’t stop all winter damage. Here are methods for dealing with winter issues head-on. 


pruning-trees-winter-300x200Early spring is the prime time to do some pruning, as harm becomes visible. It can be a big factor in how well a tree’s recovery goes. 

One of the clearest visual indicators are loose or cracked branches. At these spots, cutting back to a tree’s green wood can hopefully ensure better health. Just note that if a limb or part of the tree has minimal-enough damage, it may be able to recover. Simply support it with rods or a brace designed for this. 

Deep-Root Fertilization

There’s still some time to take advantage of this fertilization process. It involves a probe going into a tree’s feeder zone. Only one slow-releasing application done this way can feed a tree through its entire growing season. It’s also a near-sure method to help it recover from whatever winter stress it’s been through. 


Yes, even just keeping up with the right amount of watering can help. Less, but more deep, waterings are usually the recipe for success. 

How Does Winter Damage Affect Crepe Myrtles Specifically?

We mainly know Crepe Myrtles for their general resilience and vibrant colors. Of course, winter can have other plans for them. While you may have to wait to fully understand the extent of damages, effective pruning is always key.  

Pruning Crepe Myrtles

Pruning Crepe Myrtles requires the right form. While doing it, you want to only prune branches that are rubbing or crossing with one another. Think of it as helping improve the tree’s form. This will help improve its natural appearance, overall health and even bloom times. 

Handle Winter Damage With Fairway Green

Fairway Green knows how to prevent and deal with the damaging effects of winter. With a tree and shrub maintenance plan tailored to your lawn, winter won’t be as big of a problem any more. Contact us today for your free lawn analysis and 30% off your first service!