As the fall season winds down and we see winter around the corner, if you have newly planted trees, or trees planted with less than 3-4 inches in trunk diameter, you may want to give a little extra protection.
You see, newly planted trees, or those with trunk diameters less than 3-4 inches or so, especially smooth skinned trees, can be subject to a couple different types of damages over the winter.
1.) Critter damages. And this includes critters as small as a vole (v-o-l-e), and as large a buck deer. Voles and mice can chew on the bark of younger trees and shrubs over the winter for food, so keeping the mulch pulled away from the trunks of the trees will reduce there hiding area, and reduce chewing. Buck deer love smaller trees anytime during the fall and winter, as they us them for a scratching stick for their antlers. So protecting the trunks of younger trees, especially if you know there are deer in your area, is very important.
One of the best ways to protect your tree trunks from both critters, is using either tree wrap, or plastic drain pipe cut to fit around the tree trunk, or using the ones sold at local garden stores. By placing these barriers around the trunk, starting at ground level, it protects the trunk from mice or voles chewing at ground level, and the deer from rubbing at deer level. I also suggest using repellents around the trees, such as Liquid Fence, Repels All, DeerScram, or an all natural fertilizer called Milorganite, which will lightly feed while acting as a repellent.
2.) Frost Cracks. Frost cracks occur when smaller smooth skinned tree trunks are exposed to very cold temperatures, then, as the sun comes up and hits the side of the tree, the cells in the bark explodes, causing a frost crack. You’ll notice these on the south or west side of the tree trunk. By using the tree trunk protectors, they block the suns rays and reduce frost crack damages.
So make sure you protect your young tree investments this winter…use tree trunk protectors.