Wrap and Water your Trees

November is a good time to think about wrapping your vulnerable trees for the winter. If you planted a new tree this fall or have a young tree in your landscape, wrapping it can protect your trees from winter damage.


Why to wrap

Changes in temperature - especially those days when the temperature drops 20 degrees in two hours - can cause frost cracks or split bark. The tree bark can also suffer sunscald, which are burns caused by sun exposure once the leaves have dropped and left the young bark vulnerable. Wrapping the tree protects that vulnerable bark. Some say it might even protect it from some wildlife that might gnaw on bark or rub their antlers on it.


How to wrap

  1. Use a light-colored crepe-paper type wrap; using plastic, dark colored materials or burlap can result in tree damage. Crepe-paper wrap has some elasticity to it and sheds water, keeping the trunk dry.

  2. Start wrapping at the bottom of the tree, overlapping by 1/3 until you reach the first branch. Tape the wrap to prevent it from slipping at the top of the tree. Or consider stapling the wrap to itself around the first branch. Do not staple the wrap into the tree!

  3. You should take a lead from the weather as to when to remove tree wrap. The general rule is to remove it in early spring (mid-April). With Colorado's less predicable weather, you may need to adjust if you know that a later freeze is coming.

Water, water, water

You should also continue watering trees as long as it is warm. Winter watering is crucial to tree health. Put down a layer of mulch to keep the moisture in and to insulate the soil and roots below.



References

Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (2020, Nov. 6). Tip of the Week: Winter tree care. https://www.alcc.com/tip-of-the-week-email

Master Gardener CSU Extension. CMG GardenNotes #653. Wrapping Trees For Winter

https://cmg.extension.colostate.edu/Gardennotes/653.pdf



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