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Last week's Tip of the Week

Wrap and water your trees

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The general rule of thumb has been to wrap young trees in late November and remove the wrapping in April. But here in Colorado we know that weather patterns don’t read calendars. Freeze can, and recently did, occur early in the fall. But don’t despair if your tree got caught without a “blanket” in October. If you planted a new tree this fall or have a young tree in your landscape, it’s not too late to wrap it. Despite the cold temps we’ve already seen this fall, it’s still important to protect your trees from winter damage.

Changes in temperature—especially those crazy 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, leaving the young bark vulnerable.

There may already be damage from the season’s first frost, but wrapping now can help protect young trees against further damage.

If you’ve got an evergreen tree with brown needles after an extreme temperature change, don't despair. We won’t know the extent of the damage until spring, so don’t give up on your tree or shrub yet. Be patient; keep watering and caring for it. When temperatures go below freezing, don’t water the soil. But you can mist the needles to help protect them and possibly mitigate the damage. As we’ve seen with trees hit by previous deep freezes, needles may be damaged but the buds that contain spring growth may have been spared.

Thanks to Dr. James Klett of CSU and certified arborist Patrick O’Meara for sharing their expertise for this week’s tip!

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