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What you need:
  • Tree wrap
  • Mulch
  • Window screen or 1/4" mesh hardware cloth
Young trees are susceptible to sunscald during winter months, a problem caused by wide fluctuations in temperature. For instance, during the day if the sun is shining, bark temperatures will rise higher than air temperatures. When the sun sets or is blocked by clouds, the bark temperature drops rapidly, damaging plant tissue. The effects of sunscald can be lessened or eliminated altogether by wrapping the trunks of trees with tree wrap. Wrap the trunk from its base up to just below where the canopy starts. Remove the wrap in spring so it does not impede the tree's growth.
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In order to protect your tree's bark from hungry rodents during winter food shortages, construct a cylinder out of window screen or " mesh hardware cloth. The cylinder should penetrate the soil to a depth of 2-3" if possible, and should be about 3" larger in diameter than the trunk of your tree.
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Another important factor in keeping your trees healthy during the winter months is maintaining the moisture content of the soil. Avoid fertilizing your trees in late summer to early fall so they have a chance to harden off. After deciduous trees lose their leaves but before the ground freezes, give them a good dose of water. Next, mulch around your trees. Start from the outside of the wire cylinder and mulch the entire area under the tree's drip line to a depth of about 3".