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How to maintain trees and shrubs through a Northwest winter

Cold and windy weather can be hard on trees and plants. This week on Home Matters, Pete and Rob consulted the experts on how to keep trees and shrubs in good, safe condition through the winter.

Garden expert Ciscoe Morris and Anthony Moran from Superior NW Tree and Shrub Care join the show this week with their advice on how to properly maintain growth around your home to keep your family and property safe.

A big concern heading into the winter season is the wet and the wind which can wreak havoc on trees. But there are things that can be done to avoid falling branches and falling trees.

Moran says a good first step is consulting an ISA certified Arborist or tree risk assessor. With their expertise they can evaluate the health of your trees, and give you an idea of how they’ll behave in severe winter weather conditions.

He says they’ll take a look at the tree’s age, the bark, see if there’s any indicators of disease. The trees formation can also provide clues, two tops or big branches headed upward can be a danger sign. Recent construction can also impact trees stability, Moran says.

“Trees are living entities so they’re going to experience stressors in their life. It could be light. It could be wind. It could be just plain exposure. It could be the tree leans a little bit. There are a number of different things that happen out there,” says Moran. “We’re trained to look for the structure of trees, proper formation […] the colors, the health, the overall aspect.”

Moran says it’s a good idea to check trees in winter when there are fewer leaves on the tree.

“You can actually see the structure of your trees, you should just get a nice little walk-around view of things that might have been rubbing. Things that have maybe cracks or little decay points that you can see along the branches or the scaffolds, things that might be weak points, when the snow and ice comes those are things that might crack.”

The cold of winter can also weaken trees and plants. Garden expert Ciscoe Morris says moderating temperature can be a big help to maintaining a tree or plant’s health.

“One of the most important things you can do is add mulch. Mulch makes a huge difference on the temperature of the soil. In summer one inch of mulch can make a 15 degree difference of the temperature on the soil’s surface, so it’s the same in winter time you’ve got a little blanket there to protect the roots.”

Keeping good clearance between trees and your home is another good safety measure to take. Moran recommends at least four to six feet. This will not only protect your home from branches and moisture, it will also keep rodents and critters eying your home’s warmth at a safer distance.

These are only a few of the ways the experts suggest to protect your home. Listen to Home Matters podcast for more helpful tips on maintaining your plants and trees this winter.

Anthony Moran and Superior NW Tree and Shrub Care are a proud sponsor of KIRO Radio’s Home Matters.

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