Prepping Fruit Trees for Winter | Living the Country Life
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Prepping Fruit Trees for Winter

A home orchard is a bountiful long-term investment. Pave the way for healthy and productive trees with these winter-care tips from Dr. Diana Cochran, extension fruit specialist at Iowa State University.
  • Protect the Base

    Begin by blanketing the tree root zones with a 4-to-6-inch layer of shredded wood mulch to prevent frost heaving. "Repeated freezing and thawing of soil in the fall or spring can cause the soil to expand and contract, protentially damaging roots and heaving new plants out of the ground," Cochran says. A thick layer of mulch will serve as insulation that can reduce soil expansion and contraction.

    Date Published: November 2, 2018
    Date Updated: November 14, 2018
    Tags: fruit, Trees, Winter
  • Burlap Wrap

    You'll also want to protect tender twigs and bark of newly planted trees from hungry rodents. In late fall, wrap the trunks of young trees with burlap, metal mesh, commercial tree wrap, or corrugated plastic. Make sure the trunk wraps extend 18 to 24 inches above the potential snow depth, Cochran says. When possible, bury the trunk wrap 2 to 3 inches below the soil line. Be sure to remove the trunk wrap as soon as temperatures begin to warm in spring.

    Date Published: November 2, 2018
    Date Updated: November 14, 2018
    Tags: fruit, Trees, Winter
  • Consider Laying a Repellent

    While adding insulation like mulch or straw can be helpful in protecting the roots, it also provides an excellent home for rodents and other small critters. If you're using a layer of insulation for winter, you might want to lay a rodent repellent down as well to keep the insulation left alone and void of pests. There are all kinds of repellents out there, just choose one that will last in the weather and is directed toward the type of pest you're dealing with.

    Date Published: November 2, 2018
    Date Updated: November 14, 2018
    Tags: fruit, Trees, Winter
  • Other Protection Options

    In some areas of the country, sunscald is also a common problem in winter. "Sunscald occurs when the trunk heats up during the day and then there is a rapid drop in temperature at night," Cochran says. Sunscals leads to trunk cracking and splitting. Commercial tree wrap or other light-color material can be wrapped around the trunk for protection. A coat of white latex paint also can be applied to the trunk to prevent sunscald. Be sure to apply paint when the temperature is above 50ºF.

    Date Published: November 2, 2018
    Date Updated: November 14, 2018
    Tags: fruit, Trees, Winter

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