Protecting Trees From Frost is Part of Good Winter Tree Care in Wilmington, DE

By Stein Tree
Posted on December 13, 2017

Did you know that frost damage is the single largest cause of weather-related economic loss to crops in the United States? Outside of the agriculture business, tree care in Wilmington, DE and plant replacement following frost can get expensive. In addition, losing plants to a sudden freeze is disheartening, especially when the dying plant happens to be your favorite tree.

Young, old, and newly planted trees are especially vulnerable to frost damage, which occurs when the water inside the cells of a plant freeze. Such cellular freezing then causes damage to cell walls which causes the entire tree’s health to deteriorate. A few signs of frost damage include withering or browning shoots and buds, cracking and splitting tree bark, and wilting young branches. Left unresolved in severe or long-term periods of frost conditions, vulnerable trees will die.

Thankfully, a few simple tips for tree care in Wilmington, DE may reduce the risk of frost damage. Consider the following protection methods:

5 Methods of Protecting Trees from Frost

  1. Blankets. This is the simplest and fastest form of protection, especially when residents are caught unaware by a sudden freeze forecast. Just throw blankets or old clothes around the base of the tree for insulation.
  2. Hay. Instead of blankets, Delaware residents can also pile hay around the base of a tree to offer insulation and keep the surrounding ground warm.
  3. Hot water bucket with blankets or plastic sheeting. For this method of frost prevention, fill a 5-gallon bucket with hot water and place underneath a tree. Use a heavy blanket or plastic sheeting to cover the bucket and wrap around the tree. Over the course of a few hours, the hot water will evaporate but the heat will be trapped by the blanket and keep the tree warm.
  4. Drip lines. As with the previous methods, this method utilizes the principle that water that is warmer than air will protect trees from frost. For best effects, use blankets or plastic to help trap the energy expended during the evaporation process.
  5. Christmas lights. This method has the added bonus of being festive! Use one or two sets of Christmas lights around each tree you want to protect and wrap the whole trunk to the soil line. You will need older, non-LED lights for this method to be effective, as newer lights give off negligible heat.

Stein Tree Service Offers Skilled Tree Care in Wilmington, DE and Surrounding Areas

Winter tree care is important during cold Delaware and Pennsylvania winters. We inspect trees for damage and perform preventive pruning. We also offer our TreeFall Program as insurance against winter storm damage. For more information about winter tree care in Wilmington, DE, contact us today.


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