People often overlook tree care, assuming trees are big and will take care of themselves. While sometimes that’s the case, it may behove you to put some thought into the trees in your life. So next time you’re in a heat wave and watering your garden – water your trees as well!
One reason to water your trees – they dry out in the fall and winter! A common tree problem that occurs during the winter, is wind burn on conifers. There’s a few factors a play here, so let’s break it down.
- Winter air is very dry – increasing the rate of transpiration / evaporation in leaves (just like your skin gets dry – tree leaves get dry too! )
- Tree roots for water intake tend to grow in the top foot or so of the soil.
- In winter the first few feet of soil freeze solid, preventing any liquid water uptake by roots.
So because the Conifers don’t shed their leaves (needles) in the fall – they can still lose water through their leaves in Winter. Because the ground is frozen, the tree cannot replace the water lost to the dry air, and the affected needles turn brown and die.
We call it wind burn because it happens on parts or sides of the tree that are the most exposed to high winds. Fast moving dry air pulls out more moisture than slow moving dry air – so that part of the tree loses moisture too quickly, and the needles turn brown. Shelter from buildings or neighborly trees in addition to snow cover or burlap tree wrap can really mitigate these circumstances.