Winter Tree and Pest Manual

How to Winterize Your Trees and Shrubs

If you’re anything like us, winter is a great time to hunker down with family and cozy up to the fire with a good book. It’s also a fabulous time to inspect, prune, and protect your trees.

Put down that John Grisham for a moment and read through our winter manual on how to care for your trees this winter!

Our Winter Tree and Pest Manual will cover: 

  1. Winter Inspection & Pruning
  2. Winter Tree Protection
  3. Winter Tree Cabling
  4. Common Trees to Care for in the Winter
winterize your north carolina yard and trees

Winter Inspection & Pruning

Some people only think about tree care in the spring and summer, but there are actually some services that are better to get done in the winter, including tree inspection and pruning.

It’s better to inspect and prune deciduous trees in the winter because…

  1. The absence of leaves makes it easier to check for decay and other structural defects, like codominant stems. It also makes it easier for us to move around in your tree!
  2. There’s much less disease and pest pressure in the colder weather, which makes pruning safer for the tree.
inspect and prune your trees in the winter in Charlotte, North Carolina

Winter Tree Protection

If you want to get ahead of summer pests, opt for a horticultural oil treatment this winter.

Horticultural oils are an effective treatment for trees and shrubs. They primarily work by blocking the spiracles (air holes) that insects use to breathe, causing them to die from asphyxiation.

Horticultural oil can also be applied to egg masses to inhibit oxygen uptake and decrease hatching success.

In some cases, studies have found that this treatment can be a feeding and egg-laying deterrent, as well.

Horticultural oil isn’t effective on all pests, but it can control many common pests like mites, scale, mealybugs, psyllids, whiteflies, aphids, caterpillars, plant bugs, leafhoppers, and adelgids.

Importantly, horticultural oils are more environmentally friendly and less harmful to predators and other beneficial insects than many other synthetic insecticides – they’re a nice, gentle treatment you can take advantage of to get ahead of issues.

How do you apply the oil?

In general, we opt for full coverage where we spray the whole tree and/or shrub from top to bottom. Because oils only last a day or two until they evaporate, we typically recommend two sprays – one in the winter and another in the spring.

Any more than two sprays is overkill. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

We typically apply horticultural oils in concentrations of 1% to 3%. When trees are barren in the winter, we use a higher concentration. In the spring as plants start budding out, we switch to a lower concentration because young, tender leaf tissue is more susceptible to being damaged by the oil.

To minimize off-target drift, we limit our sprays to a height of 25 feet.

How will we know if it’s working?

Unless you have a highly visible, recurring issue, horticultural oils are like taking probiotics. You have to trust that they’re working behind the scenes to control pests that lay eggs and overwinter on your trees.

You’ll have a better idea of the effectiveness when spring arrives and the pests have been minimized.

What advice would you give us?

Pay attention to the signs and call us to schedule service in advance!

Oftentimes, we receive pest-related calls in late spring or early summer after the damage has been done. Sometimes we can get things under control, but other times, it’s too late.

As they saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

spraying trees with horticultural oil in North Carolina

Winter Tree Cabling

Do certain trees around your home make you anxious every time a thunderstorm rolls through the Charlotte, NC area? Guess what? Winter is a great time for cabling.

Like pruning, we can better see the structure of the tree during winter to determine if a supplemental support system would do it some good.

If your tree already has a cable, we can inspect it in the winter. Most people don’t realize that as a tree grows, any cabling typically needs to be lengthened to maintain the correct tension. Your tree’s cable should be inspected at least every 5 years, but some systems may require inspections every 3 years.

tree cabling to protect your North Carolina trees

Common Trees to Care for in the Winter

In NC, there are a number of trees that can benefit from winter care (e.g., dogwood, cryptomeria, willow, and anything in the Rosaceae or rose family, including fruit trees like apples, cherries, and peaches).

A typically healthy tree planted in the wrong location where it doesn’t get enough sun or wind and stays consistently wet may be a good candidate for some extra winter care.

Unsure about your trees? Here’s a clue for you: did one of your trees lose its leaves early last year? If the answer is yes, get in touch with us today. We’re happy to provide a consultation.

common North Carolina trees to care for in the winter

Prepare Now for Spring!

Winter is the time to prepare your trees and shrubs before the blooming season arrives, but DIY projects can be time-consuming. Let us take that off your to-do list.

Fill out this form to get in touch with your area’s arborist representative to request a consultation today!