October 8, 2014
As the leaves begin to fall off the trees, the chore of raking up leaves begins. While you are out in the yard raking those leaves, you may notice that some of your evergreen shrubs have developed yellow needles on the inside of the plants. In the case of arborvitae, the amount of yellowing needles can appear quite alarming. Yet, this is just the normal thinning out of the leaves on the evergreens. Even though the plants are evergreens, it doesn’t mean that they won’t drop any needles. If you have large white pine trees in your yard, you are probably familiar with brown needles falling like rain on a windy fall day.
This whole process of the evergreens thinning themselves out in anticipation of winter is very normal and can be expected at this time of the year.
Winter can be tough on our plants. Once the leaves fall off the trees, the bark on trees is exposed to the sun. You wouldn’t think that this would be a problem. Yet the sun can have a devastating effect on the trunk of your trees. During the winter, the sun heats up the bark on the trunk of your trees. As the sun sets, temperatures can drop quickly. This rapid drop in temperature can cause the bark on the trees to pop away from the trunk. Generally you will see this as cracks in the bark. Since these cracks can develop over many days of warming and rapid cooling, by spring you can have a lot of loose bark. This process of bark pulling away from the trunk can disrupt the ability of the tree to take up food and water. If enough damage is done, it may lead to the death of the tree.
You can prevent this damage by wrapping the trunk of the tree with the aptly named tree wrap. Tree wrap comes in several forms. There is one type that is a thick corrugated paper. The paper is wrapped around the trunk, starting as close as possible to the ground. The paper is wrapped in overlapping bands around the trunk until you get to the branches. The top end of paper is usually held in place with twine or with duct tape. The other type of tree wrap is a spiral sliced tube of plastic. You take one end of the plastic tube and beginning at the bottom of the trunk, you wrap it around the trunk until you reach the first row of branches. We have both types at the store. This layer of tree wrap allows the bark to slowly warm up and also to slowly cool down. This process practically eliminates the cracking and splitting of the bark on your trees. If you have any of the ornamental flowering trees in your yard, an application of a tree wrap in the fall is a must. Older trees with a thick bark, think maple trees, are less prone to this problem.
Fall can bring a whole set of new gardening chores to your yard. Over the last few weeks I have told you about many of the things you need to do in the fall. Fall has a nasty habit of turning to winter and you need to get these things done soon.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.