Winter Burn – What is it?

Winter burn is a term usually applied to evergreen trees like pines or firs when they undergo damage and turn brown, red, white, or yellow-ish. Some trees will recoup in the spring, but some will be unable to recover, especially if they are young.

Winter Burn – Why Does It Happen?

Winter burn can happen for a few reasons. Sometimes there are warm spells, or warmer days within the winter season that stimulates growth in evergreens. When the temperatures drop again, the trees can’t keep up with the growth that was initiated by the warmth and the quick-change causes damage and browning.

Another reason for winter burn is the hard weather itself. Wind can be destructive to evergreens, combined with lack of moisture in the ground. Wind takes a lot out of trees and the outer layers of plants. The internal tree system can’t keep us with maintaining healthy roots and the damage done to the tissue on the outside.

Any combination of abnormal or harsh weather conditions, coupled with lack of water in the cold months can subject a tree to winter burn.

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Winter Burn – What Can I Do?

There are a number of solutions to winter burn prevention and care:

  • Set up barriers around trees to act as an extra protective layer for the wind.
  • Make sure that evergreens are properly watered and hydrated in the fall, before the ground freezes.
  • Talk to one of our certified arborists, who can advise the best locations to plant evergreens so that in the winter there is less exposure to wind and elements. We can also advise how to take care of the soil and properly apply mulch to the base of your evergreens, which traps water in the ground better.

If winter burn is already a problem for your evergreens this year, schedule an appointment today to talk to our specialists. It’s possible to help your evergreens and undo some winter burn without removing the entire tree or plant. Anything that allows the tree to get the moisture it needs through the winter in order to maintain good plant health and growth is a viable solution!