Spring is coming... slowly but surely.
Believe it or not, we are finally starting to experience Spring in Southeastern Wisconsin!
After a long, harsh winter it is great to see the trees budding and leafing out and flowers pushing up and blooming all over. Pretty soon you will start to notice if your trees and/or shrubs took a beating from this past winter.
Don't freak out quite yet. Give them a chance to demonstrate their viability (unless they are ash trees showing signs of EAB infestation and more than 40% canopy die-back, in that case give us a call to give a quote for removal before they become hazardous in your landscape).
Recent and forecasted rains will give your plants a good start for this new growing season, and remember, not all trees/shrubs bud or leaf out at the same time - some are later than others.
Customers have been asking about the browning on their evergreens (trees and shrubs). This is often caused by salt damage (if near areas that were heavily salted over the winter) or from winter desiccation, otherwise known as winter burn.
Some salt damage is irreversible, but its worth giving your affected woody and herbaceous plants a good watering to dilute and flush the sodium levels in the soil. If they have not succumb to the salt you have a good chance of saving them.
Winter burn occurs when moisture loss exceeds moisture available to the roots due to extreme cold temperatures, strong winds, and southern exposure (all contributors to excessive water loss). Do not despair if this is what has happened to your evergreens. The best thing you can do now is water, watch, and wait.
For evergreens damaged by winter burn, wait until new growth has emerged before pruning dead branches or branch tips. Most trees and shrubs will send out new growth that will eventually fill in the damaged section(s) over time.
If you can't wait or the die-back is severe due to winter burn or salt damage and removal of dead areas would result in the removal of the majority of the tree or shrub, you may need to consider removal and replacement.
Next winter you can take some preventive steps by providing a deep watering before the ground freezes and by spreading mulch around the base of the tree or shrub to conserve moisture and prevent deep freezing of the soil throughout winter. You can also cover your smaller shrubs with burlap to keep them protected from prevailing winter winds and sun exposure. To avoid salt damage, avoid planting trees and shrubs near heavily salted areas and if they already exist in those locations, be mindful of your salt usage and avoid shoveling salt-filled snow onto your plants.
Hopefully these few tips will be a help to your and your trees.