For older trees, fluctuations in temperatures during winter can be especially damaging. Temperature rises during the day and sharp drops at night can cause stress between the outer bark of the tree and its inner lining, causing cracks which weaken the tree. Therefore, it is important to focus on protecting older trees even more during volatile winter months.
Trees need to be prepared for dryness during winter, which is caused when the tree can not absorb enough water from the frozen ground to replenish what is being used by the tree. This problem can be addressed by laying down a layer of mulch around the base of the tree before winter’s onset. This will be effective at slowing water loss and performs as a buffer against low temperatures for the roots of the tree.
Branches are especially vulnerable to breakage during winter months because slimmer areas of the tree harden against the cold and can easily snap off. To minimize branch breakage during winter, make sure you take preventative measures during autumn. Make sure all weak and breakable branches are pruned during autumn and remove one of the branches on all deep V-shaped pairs of branches to make the tree less susceptible to breakage.
Some additional tips to make sure your trees survive the winter season are to maintain your trees all year round by fertilizing, pruning and mulching your trees in the seasons before winter. Also, choose indigenous trees for your garden where possible, as these will be naturally adapted to the local climate and can thus be expected to look better and be healthier all year round.