Sweater Weather: Should You Be Covering Your Plants and Trees?

Walk through any botanical garden, nursery, or serious home gardener’s yard in the winter, and you’ll likely notice at least a few snug sweaters adorning trees and shrubs. Which may lead you to wonder: Should you do the same thing?

The answer is a qualified yes. “Qualified” because most well-established native trees don’t need your help weathering the winter months, even during tough storms or cold spells. That isn’t necessarily the case, however, for exotic species and young trees – both of which would very much appreciate a warm jacket, thankyouverymuch.

So now the question becomes, if you have sensitive trees, how can you protect them? First, it’s important to understand why they need protection in the first place.

Chilly Challenges

Winter brings a lot of new challenges to trees that they don’t face the rest of the year, including:

  • Trees are sensitive to salt and brine, which occasionally affect us here even in warm and sunny Georgia
  • Cold snaps can cause tender new growth to shrivel and die off
  • Freeze and thaw cycles endanger plant roots, cause bark cracking and prevent proper water uptake

Covering trees, however, can prevent this. Covers regulate temperature, warm roots, protect from salt spray and biting winds, and prevent predation from hungry herbivores. All that’s left is to get the job done.

Flora Frocking

When it’s time to dress your trees, here’s what to do:

  1. Start with protecting roots by mulching in a circle around trees at a depth of 2-4 inches
  2. Cover smaller trees and shrubs with coats of burlap or flannel that extend all the way to the ground
  3. Try to avoid contact between plant and fabric, using string or stakes to minimize it
  4. Use premade covers for baby trees or shrubs, upending them over the top
  5. Make sure to provide airflow

Proper Protection

In addition to sweaters where necessary, it’s important not to set your trees and shrubs up for failure. That means keeping them dormant during winter at all costs. According to Gardener’s Supply Company, you can do this by:

  • Avoiding fertilizer throughout the entirety of winter and for 6 weeks before the first fall frost
  • Never pruning between midsummer and the following late winter, right before budbreak
  • Watering routinely throughout the fall to prevent winter dehydration

Of course, you may still need help. If you have questions about winter tree care, feel free to contact us here at Premier Tree Solutions, your one-stop-shop for all things tree care. We can help you with tree protection, proper pruning techniques, yard cleanup and much more, so don’t wait to get in touch!

New Year, New Tree: Give Your Trees a Makeover

As we head into a new year, with new gardening goals and challenges, there’s a question you should be asking yourself: Are my trees ready for their closeups?

Your branching babes are the centerpiece of your property, after all. They anchor sweeping lawns, they provide shade in backyards, they serve as focal points in beds and along property lines. In other words, they deserve only the best – and it’s time you provide it.

If you can’t honestly say your trees look their best, then it’s time for a makeover. Here’s how to do it.

Give Trees a Thorough Soak

Many people don’t know that trees are at risk of dehydration in winter just as much as in summer. Winter dry spells suck moisture right out of the air, causing drought-like conditions that may even exceed hot months, when at least we have lots of humidity.

If you want trees to look their best, you need to correct the problem stat. That means a deep soak that drenches both the dripline (the area under the canopy) and a few feet beyond it. Here’s a professional explanation to properly hydrate and ready trees for spring foliage.

Mulch the Ground Around Trees

Mulch is an all-around wonder material. It keeps roots warm in winter, cool in summer, and moisturized all year round. It’s never a bad time to mulch (though spring and fall are best), so head to the nearest nursery or landscape supply company and get enough to cover trees at a depth of 2-4 inches out to the dripline.

Note: You should remove grass or other groundcover before putting down mulch for the best results. That way, other plants don’t compete with the tree for water and resources.

Shape Your Tree

This is perhaps the best step for a visual makeover. If you follow the natural shape of the tree, it will look its most beautiful.

Start by removing branches that clog the inner spaces between trees. If you see any limbs at too sharp an angle to the trunk, remove those as well. Then thin smaller branches and twigs to open up the canopy. Be sure, when trimming, to use proper sterilization practices.

Get Some Help

If you live on an overgrown property and don’t know where or how to take action, you’re not alone. Most people can relate to that feeling, and the best antidote is a good dose of expert help.

That’s where Premier Tree Solutions comes in. Whether you need branch trimming or limb removal, basic tree grooming or serious overhauls, we’re here to help. We also remove trees, grind stumps, clear brush, and more. Ready for that closeup? It starts with us, so don’t wait to pick up the phone and call today.


Get to know Georgia’s beautiful array of trees and how you can take care of your own! Each month, we feature some of the most popular trees in the state. This month, we are showcasing Georgia’s state tree, the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana). Learn all about the southern live oak below!
Southern Live Oak Tree Infographic