One thing an old-fashioned winter won't do is kill off harmful insects. Overwintering insects should be identified and treated before they can emerge and do damage in the spring when trees are working hard to develop new growth. Two examples of highly invasive, overwintering insects in the Northeast are...
1) The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)
An Ash-tree, killing invasive species in North America. The EAB enters diapause (a mechanism used as a means to survive unfavorable environmental conditions in the winter), which means it can survive freezing temperatures.
2) Gypsy Moth - Aka Lymantria Dispar Linnaeus
one of the most notorious pests of hardwood trees in the Eastern United States. The larvae remain in the eggs during the winter. The eggs hatch the following spring. This is of particular concern for CT and MA residents.
Our tree and plant health care specialists have been scouting for these insects and have identified multiple properties that are showing signs of another outbreak in 2018.
In addition to harmful insects, abiotic environmental factors challenge trees/shrubs in the winter. Abiotic factors, also known as non-living factors, include snow, ice, sunscald, high winds and frozen soil. These factors can and will stress trees/shrubs in the winter.
Suggestions for minimizing injury to your trees/shrubs in the winter:
Select hardy species.
Avoid late-summer fertilizing or pruning because it may stimulate new growth. Instead, wait until the plants are dormant.
Water trees and shrubs during dry periods until the ground freezes.
Use mulch to preserve moisture in the soil and insulate the roots from cold temperatures.
Protect evergreens from wind and salt spray with burlap screens.
Apply anti-desiccants (products that help hold in moisture through the winter) to Evergreens starting in late fall, following label instructions.
If you would like to schedule a complimentary assessment of the trees/shrubs in your landscape, please call our office at 413-525-0060 or click here to send us an email.