Long Island’s temperate, seasonal climate is home to many tree and shrub species that benefit from winter tree service.
Spring and summer bring beautiful foliage, but winter months can mean trouble for your trees, especially for the roots.
Roots do not become dormant in the winter as quickly as stems, branches and buds, and roots are less hardy than stems. Rapid freeze-thaw cycles that can affect the way soil and roots interact are unique to our coastal climate, so it’s important to learn about the soil where you live and perform annual winter tree service. Roots of most trees and shrubs that grow on Long Island die at temperatures at or below 0 and up to 10 degrees. These plants survive on Long Island because soil temperatures usually stay higher than air temperatures, and because soil cools down much more slowly than air temperature.
Do you know the soil on your property? Many factors influence soil temperature:
- Moist soil holds more heat than dry soil, so frost penetration will be deeper and soil temperatures colder for sandy or dry soils.
- Snow cover and mulch act as insulators and keep soil temperatures higher.
- With newly planted trees, cracks in the planting hole allow cold air to penetrate into the root zone, reducing fall root growth or killing newly formed roots.
- A trained arborist can help condition trees for root health, perform winter tree service, and tell you exactly how your soil type affects your trees in winter.
Reducing root injury
- Mulch new trees and shrubs with 2 to 8 inches of wood chips or straw.
- If the fall has been dry, water heavily before the ground freezes to reduce frost penetration.
- Check new plantings for cracks in the soil and fill them with soil.
- Be sure to consult your local arborist for help protecting trees in winter.
Repeated freezing and thawing of soil in fall or spring causes soil to expand and contract, which can damage roots and heave shrubs and new plantings out of the ground. A 2- to 6-inch layer of mulch will prevent heaving by maintaining more constant soil temperatures.
Remember that a healthy tree is a safe tree! Contact us for help keeping your trees healthy and your Long Island property safe throughout the year!