There is always a lot to do for Preparing fruit trees for winter.
It’s so easy to forget about the trees around the cool weather vegetables with the latest harvests, multiples and cuttings and hoop houses!
But while fruit trees are seen to be resilient, they are still vulnerable to frost and cold and it is important to take steps to prepare them for winter.
This article will teach you how to winterize fruit trees in your garden, as well as potted plants or planted in containers.
WHAT YOU’LL BE LEARNING IN THIS ARTICLE
- Why it is important to prepare fruit trees for the winter
- All the focus is on the Roots
- Cleaning Up!
- Make Layer on the Mulch
- Deep Watering
- Protect from Animal Damage
- Prune after Dormancy
- Protect Potted Trees
- Tips about Winterizing
It takes very little time and effort to prepare fruit trees for winter, which will prevent them from being damaged by winter temperatures, cold winds and hungry animals.
As the weather cooled, fruit growers began preparing their fruit trees for the winter. This is because unprotected fruit trees are at risk for frost damage. And frost damage can damage the health of your plant in the long run.
Some of us planted our fruit trees directly in the ground. Others put them on raised beds or permanent outdoor patios.
Either way, you need to take steps to prepare your fruit trees for winter and we will discuss this in this article.
IMPORTANCE OF PREPARING FRUIT TREES FOR THE WINTER
One of our main challenges in creating fruit trees for winter is to protect the roots of fruit trees from damage caused by winter frosts.
The reason is that these roots are essential for the main functions of the tree:
In summer, tree roots bring water and nutrients from the soil and attract these nutrients to the plants.
In autumn, all the nutrients and energy produced by the leaves are sent back to the roots for winter storage. These nutrients will help keep dormant fruit trees alive until spring.
What if the roots of your fruit tree freeze during the winter? If the roots are frozen, they die. And when the roots die, your plant will no longer have access to preserved nutrients. So, your tree suffers from malnutrition and eventually dies.
Winter can cause cracks in tree trunks and broken branches and these can be entry points for pests and diseases. It is very important to prepare our fruit trees in winter. How do we do that? Keep reading to find out.
ALL FOCUS SHOULD BE ON THE ROOTS
The roots are an essential part of a tree. These link between the trees below and the nutrient-rich soil.
A close-up perpendicular image of a plant moving around from the base of the soil for the air outlet of the tree.
In spring and summer, the roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, trapping the trunk, branches and leaves.
When the fall days are shortened and the temperature drops, the tree prepares for dormancy. Thin trees will drop their leaves, stopping the production of energy through photosynthesis.
Metabolism slows down and active growth stops to conserve energy during the winter months. Trees use stored energy for survival.
A horizontal image of a row of fruit trees in a garden in the autumn months, depicting a blue sky background.
Healthy roots are essential for healthy trees, so it is important to protect them from harsh winter conditions.
Winter freezing and slippery times can damage the roots, especially young or cold-sensitive plants.
When heated, the soil and bark expand and shrink in winter.
During the freezing-melting cycle, when the temperature drops below freezing to 32 degrees Fahrenheit and rises again, the top layers of soil melt and expand on hot days.
At night, when the temperature drops below freezing, cracks form as the ground shrinks.
This process of expansion and contraction can break the roots or even lift them completely off the ground, causing extensive damage to young plants.
A close-up vertical image of large cracks in the branches as a result of frost depicted against a fuzzy background.
Frost cracking is another way to damage plants during the freezing cycle. The bark expands when the daytime temperature warms.
At night, the outer layers of the bark cool and shrink faster than the inner layers, which can cause vertical cracks in the trunk and broken branches.
These weak spots on the skin are a suitable place for pests and diseases.
A close-up horizontal image of a branch covered in ice against a blurred background.
Fortunately, there are many steps that gardeners at home and orchardists can observed before the winter time of hard freeze comes to protect their trees avoid damaging their plants.
Start by clearing any debris around the base of the tree.
Reduce any fruit that breaks into the ground and stays on the branches
Pick up any fallen leaves and be sure to discard any such pests or disease symptoms instead of mixing them or placing them in a pile of compost.
MAKE LAYER ON THE MULCH
Speaking of bran, it is another important factor to protect your trees during the wintertime of the year.
Mulch insulates the roots, protecting them from the harmful effects of the freezing-melting cycle.
A horizontal image on the floor of the forest-covered in autumn leaves, depicted in the sunlight in autumn.
Think of a healthy forest, for example: in winter, there is no empty soil. Instead, the leaves act as a layer of marigolds to protect the roots in winter and maintain the nests.
Cultivated trees do not differ in their need for insulation but they lack a connected tree network between them in the forest resulting in more resilient trees with natural pest and disease control.
A nearest horizontal figure of a hand on the right side of the frame excavated in a wheelbarrow on the right side of the frame.
For this, it is best to first clean any fallen debris and rotten fruit around the base, then apply wood chips, curled leaves or straw snow.
Feel free to apply the material of your choice generously, apply a layer at least a few inches thick in a wide ring around the trunk of each of your trees, at least three or four feet in diameter.
Square close-up image of a row of trees mixed with straw for winter protection.
It is a good idea to leave a few inches of space between the stems and stems to prevent moisture build-up that can rot early.
Avoid using compost or rotten fertilizers, as these can provide an unwanted increase in nitrogen when the plants start new growth at a time when they are expected to be dormant.
A few deep waterfalls will help the roots to strengthen and warm-up for dormancy before the soil solidifies.
A close-up horizontal image of a tree surrounded by a canopy by a garden hose.
This is important for young trees and especially during the dry period of autumn.
Towards the end, after the leaves fall, water the plants well.
Use a water soaking tube slowly and deeply, making sure the water is about a foot deep in the ground. Do this early in the day when the temperature is above 40 ° F
PROTECT FROM ANIMAL DAMAGE
As other food sources become less available in the winter, local wildlife will start searching for whatever they like.
Especially young trees have branches that are the right height to reach the hungry deer or groin.
A close-up of a trunk wrapped in fabric to protect against rats during the winter months
Believe me, as I say from experience – investing in a few tree cages is definitely worth it!
The cages should be large enough to prevent the deer from reaching the top. Check out this article for tips on building a DIY deer fence.
Small rats can damage roots and stems in winter by curling up.
You can use a fabric barrier around the base of the tree. Make sure the rag has penetrated at least 12 inches to the floor.
PRUNING MUST BE DONE AFTER DORMANCY
To protect the branches from brittle new shoots in the fall, wait until the trees are clear before pruning.
This should usually be done anytime between December and February after the trees are dormant, but before spring germination begins.
A pair of horizontal figures of a pair of cut branches cut off in the winter months. In the background, a view of a winter garden with snow on the ground.
The right size can improve air circulation and help prevent disease.
Using sterile pruning glass, remove any dead or diseased branches, saccharin, branches growing on top of each other or any branches that have grown straight.
Some trees require special pruning techniques. For example, bananas should be cut to a height of about six inches before winter. Learn more about banana overwintering.
HOW TO PROTECT POTTED TREES
It is important to overeat fruit trees planted directly in the ground, but it is absolutely necessary to protect them when planted in pots.
Since these are not heated by the soil, the roots of container-growing plants are more susceptible to winter and are more likely to die from freezing – at least without some extra help from you.
There are several ways to get rid of pumpkin trees. You can store them in a safe place, separate them, temporarily plant them directly in the ground in a hole or bring them back inside the house.
Before deciding which method to use, be sure to do the necessary research to understand the species you are working with:
- How cold resistant?
- What climate does he like?
- Does it need a little sun during the winter or can it overwinter in a dark place?
For example, many citrus species cannot be expressed at all in tropical and frozen temperatures.
Apples on the other hand can withstand harsh and mostly frozen.
An up of unripe apples on top of an acacia tree with a light layer of ice in the blurred background photo.
Once you have an idea of what each plant can tolerate, you can choose a method of protection:
Three steps to prepare potted fruit trees against winter damage
Here are the steps to protect outdoor potted fruit trees from winter damage:
- Place the wire mesh in a circle around your container, leaving about six inches of space between the wire mesh circle and the container (as pictured above).
- Cut the wire mesh into shapes and attach the wire mesh. Additional wire pieces have been used to secure the round wire mesh fence.
- Fill the space with straw between the pot and the wire mesh. Place the straw on top of the pot to heat the top soil (shown in the picture below).
- STORE IN A PROTECTED SPOT
Choose a location like garage or shed that does not freeze. Ideally, it should be protected from air with warmer temperatures higher 30s or lower 40s.
This method works best for cold-hardy species such as figs, cherries or apricots that are naturally dormant.
- INSULATE WITH MULCH
There are several ways to do this. One method is to wrap the stem with a wire mesh ring and fill the frame with straw, cut leaves or any other type of masonry.
A close-up vertical image of a trunk covered with spruce arches and wire mesh enclosures for protection from ice and snow.
To do this, make a wide circle around the container with wire mesh, leaving about six inches of space between the cage and the container.
Cut the cage to the desired shape and secure it by folding the cut edges and using it to tie back to the other end.
Fill the space between the cage and the pot up to the top of the pot with a dry mulch. Add about one foot more marijuana to the top of the pot for extra insulation.
When spring comes, remove the marigold. You can spread it in the vegetable garden or use it well elsewhere!
A closer horizontal image of young trees wrapped in barlap to protect them from snow and ice during the winter months.
For citrus young trees or cold-sensitive species, you can provide extra protection by wrapping the pot in barlap before adding glass and wires.
- PLANT THE CONTAINER
If you have space, containers and everything else, you can plant trees in your yard temporarily.
Before the first snowfall, dig a hole large enough to bury the container. Spread six to 12 inches of mulberry on top and leave it until the soil melts in the spring.
This is a useful method if you plan to plant the seedlings in the ground later because your soil will be easier to work when you have a prepared hole that you have already dug!
- BRING INDOORS
Another option is to bring it inside the jar
A close-up horizontal figure in a small red container growing inside a citrus tree inside the cabinet and furniture in the background.
Although it is not always practical, especially for tall or heavy trees, it is for tropical species such as avocados, bananas or breadfruit trees – which prefer warm temperatures and bright sunlight for year-round sunshine.
TIPS FOR WINTERIZING FRUIT TREE
- Choose varieties that are resistant to your climate to reduce the risk of damage.
- Refrain from fertilizing after mid-summer to discourage new growth towards the end of the season.
- Deepwater several times in the autumn before the first frost, especially in the dry season.
- Prune dormant trees in late winter or early spring.
Stay in the winter during hot and comfortable times
The winter of the fruit tree is obvious.
And it should take a few extra minutes in the fall to make sure these valuable landscape features are well preserved until spring.
A close-up horizontal image of an apple tree in winter on branches and fruits painted against a blurred background.
What method do you use to outgrow your fruit trees? Please share your tips and strategies in the comments below!
And to learn more about growing fruit trees in your garden, check out these guides below