Written by Martha Green and published on https://www.finehomesandliving.com/

The coldest season of the year can be hard on a tree, which remains exposed during all of winter’s fury. Young or newly planted trees are especially susceptible to the season because they lack established, extensive root systems and mature, thick bark.

By taking simple steps in fall, you can ensure your trees enter winter ready to weather whatever nature unleashes. To protect your new tree investment in its first winter, follow a simple checklist to take care of roots, trunk, and branches.

Protecting Your Trees and Home from Winter Weather

The nights are now getting longer, the days are colder, and it gets darker far earlier. That’s your indication that winter is well on its way and you need to start thinking about how you can protect your home and trees from winter weather. We’re not just talking about the cold, but fluctuating temperatures, ice, and wind can all cause havoc with your home and garden! Even if you don’t live in an area where you get particularly bad weather, you will want to follow our tips to make sure that come spring, everything will be in the same state as you left it in fall! 

High Winds

High winds can be exceptionally problematic, especially in areas that are coastal or lack any type of cover. Before the weather sets in, evaluate your garden for any dead wood or trees. Make sure you cut down anything that you think could come loose in high winds and cause damage or serious injury. Whilst you may not want to cut down any of your trees, it is a far better option to cut a dead one down in fall, than it is to have it uprooted in winter. It is also worth having the contact of an emergency tree removal service on hand during these unpredictable winter weather months. If a tree does come down on your land, power line or property, you will certainly need to have it removed to make the area safe.


It can be difficult to prepare your home and trees in the event of heavy snowfall. For your home, you can safeguard it against heavy snow. Start by clearing out your gutters; this makes sure that when snow sets in and then melts, it will be able to escape through your gutter and downspout system. If your gutters are blocked with items such as dead leaves or other autumnal debris, you may find that the water can’t escape and will leak into areas of your house. For trees, heavy snow can also cause a multitude of problems, whilst you can’t really protect them against the snow, you can protect your house and your garden. Fully evaluate which limbs look like they would break under load, and if you think you have spotted problematic ones that could damage your house if they were to break, either call a professional or remove the limb yourself. Try and avoid cutting away healthy limbs as this can damage the health of the tree, if you are unsure at any time when looking at your trees about the best course of action, call in a professional arborist to guide you. 

Fluctuating Temperatures

Some of us that live in temperate climates face temperatures that fluctuate, and whilst we may not see this as a problem, this can be a nightmare for our trees! It can stress older trees, which can result in the cracking of the bark and inner tree. It may not be possible to stop all cracking, but before winter sets in you may want to consider wrapping your older trees in commercial tree blankets. This can help regulate the temperature of the tree and mitigate the fluctuations from causing damage! 

Fluctuating temperatures also damage brickwork and the outer veneer of your home. Before this sets in, make sure that you fully check the outside of your property for any cracks. You want to be doing this well before winter sets in, as if moister gets in there it may be too late. When you find the cracks, seal it with weather appropriate filler to stop water freezing and then thawing out.

Protecting Your Grounds 

If you have recently laid new sod, grass, or planted young trees around your house and landscape, you will want to keep them safe so that when spring comes around it will look dazzling. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you want the ground to stay frozen! Temperature fluctuations will cause the ground to heave and push out what you have planted and all of your efforts will be in vain. You can combat this heaving by waiting until the ground temperature has dropped to minus 3 degrees. Once this temperature has been reached, you can begin spreading mulch over areas of new plantation. You can use a variety of materials to insulate your plants such as bark and pine straw. 

When the ground begins to freeze, you also need to consider your home, not just your plants and trees. When the ground freezes it increases the damage from water and flooding, as the ground is not able to absorb any moisture. Once the ground has frozen, be on standby to place sandbags around the entranceways to your home, close to venting, or even the entire way around to protect the foundations from excessive runoff. If you are in an area that is prone to flooding, you may be familiar with how to protect your property from the freeze. If this is something that is new to you, it is always worth keeping an eye on local weather reports. It is also worth noting that keeping trees in your garden can help limit the amount of floodwater that encroaches onto your land. 

Final Thoughts

Preparing your trees and your home for winter doesn’t have to be a long, tedious task. As long as you approach it in a methodical way, you will be able to secure dead limbs and limit the flood risk. You can wrap your trees in blankets and keep them insulated once the ground frosts over; this also helps towards limiting the damage of flooding if this does occur. Make sure that you keep a contact for emergency tree removal on hand over the winter period, just in case the worse does occur and you have a downed tree. It is always worth preparing for winter before winter arrives, that way you won’t have to spend out for emergencies as you have already prepared!

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