How To Get Your Trees And Shrubs Ready For The Winter

Posted on November 16, 2021

Winter is only a few weeks away, which means you need to get your larger plants – namely trees and shrubs – ready for the coldest part of the year. The best way to do this is to take an inside-out approach. By nourishing your ornamental plants from the inside and defending them from attackers on the outside, you can pretty much guarantee they’ll survive to spring.

Inside-Out: A Holistic Approach To Tree And Shrub Care

Keeping your larger plants healthy and thriving involves giving them the nutrients they need to grow and protecting their exteriors from pests and other problems that occur over winter.small tree & roots

What Your Plants Need Internally

Everyone knows that lawn fertilization is a good idea in spring and fall. It gives the turfgrass abundant minerals to help them kickstart the growing season or store up food for winter. Did you know your trees and shrubs could use the same help? We sometimes forget this part of late fall yard care. After all, trees grow so tall it’s easy to think they’re tough enough to make it on their own. While they are great adapters and survivors, it doesn’t hurt to give them a large boost of minerals before winter sets in. We do this through a treatment called deep-root feeding.

Treat Your Trees To A Deep-Root Feeding

Urban and suburban areas, like the metro Knoxville region, expose our trees to higher levels of stress, pollution, and increased risk of physical damage. As such, it’s important to make sure your larger plants have sufficient nutrients. If not, they could be more likely to experience pest infestations and diseases. Further, winter is the time when trees either go dormant or rely on their roots to seek our nourishment. If your trees are deciduous, the kind that shed their leaves, they will stop growing and go dormant over the winter. Deciduous trees can only rely on the nutrients they have stored up. Once they go dormant, if they lack nutrients, they’ll essentially starve. Coniferous trees, evergreens that have year-round needles and greenery, do not go dormant. Instead, they rely on their root system to seek out sources of nutrients to sustain them all year long – even through winter.

You can ensure either type of tree in your yard will have everything it needs when you ask your lawn maintenance technician to have a deep-root feeding done. Also known as “deep-root injections,” this treatment uses a machine that resembles a large syringe. A concentrated dose of minerals is then injected directly into the root system of your trees and shrubs. This accomplishes several things. Firstly, whichever type of tree you have will use the nutrients to make it through winter. Secondly, by injecting the minerals into the soil instead of sprinkling fertilizer on the surface, other plants like turfgrass can’t take away those nutrients from the trees.

Another benefit of deep-root feedings is that the injector tool will help break up compacted soil. In a perfect world, the soil would always be loose and porous so that air, water, sunlight, and minerals could reach the root system. But soil naturally becomes compacted over time due to various factors. By breaking up the soil a bit, your tree’s roots will be able to expand and grow. Plus, any minerals leftover in spring will give your tree a running start and help it green up faster.

How To Tell If Your Tree Needs Deep-root Feeding tree with soil dug up around it

While deep-root feeding is recommended to do every fall, a few indicators should signal you need to get it done for certain. The first indicator is compacted soil. If you can’t easily dig into the earth around your tree or shrub using a shovel or screwdriver, it’s a surefire sign that the soil is compacted. A second big sign is if you noticed a significant change in your tree this year. Maybe it was a late bloomer, looked dull in color, or didn’t appear to grow very much. All of those things could be a sign that your tree didn’t have enough nutrients. And if that’s the case, you absolutely should get a deep-root injection before winter.

What Your Trees Need Externally

The second part of late fall/early winter tree and shrub care tackles problems that arise externally – namely, pests. Scale, mites, bugs, mildew, and fungi are just some of the many critters that love to feed on our trees. The easiest way to rid your tree of existing pests – and ward off future ones – is with a dormant oil application. This is a plant-safe substance sprayed on the tree to kill any bugs currently infesting it by suffocating them. Once set, it will prevent new bugs from hurting the tree as well. Some common pests that dormant oil will exterminate include aphids, scale, and mites. Applying dormant oil in the fall is highly recommended because you’ll eliminate any bugs that have decided to hibernate on your plants. This means fewer problems in spring.

Find Tree And Shrub Care Near Knoxville, TN

Nourish your trees and shrubs from the inside out with Emerald Island Lawn Service! Our tree and shrub care program will tackle everything your larger plants need, from protective dormant oils to fertilization. If you’re interested in learning more or scheduling an appointment, give us a call at 865-588-4497 or leave us a message online. And be sure to check our blog page next month for more helpful information on maintaining the yard of your dreams!

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