Young Trees Are Little Homies: Protect Them at All Costs
Young trees are newbies to the garden family, and so they need a little extra protection from the elements to stay safe! Here’s how to protect your youngins from a tough winter so they can have a great start in the spring and safely settle into their space without too much trauma from the cold.
Why Young Trees Need Our Help Stayin’ Safe
If you planted some new trees this fall, they’ll need some help getting through their first winter! After growing up at the nursery in containers or being harvested, it’s going to take them a couple of years for their root systems to get comfortable in their new environment. Without a strong root system, they’re more vulnerable to harsh weather, uprooting, and pests! Trust us: it’s worth putting in the effort to protect your young trees so they can have a good start in the spring and gain some muscle (well, root mass) next season.
How to Protect Young Trees from Long Island Winters
Baby, it’s cold outside, and the coastal weather can get nasty on Long Island. These are the best steps to take to protect your young trees from the winter elements:
Water Until the Frost
Wrap with Burlap
A winter coat for you, a winter coat for your trees. Wrapping your young trees in burlap is a great way to protect them from frost damage and salt spray, ensuring that your trees don’t suffer too much through the winter before they’re thick enough to handle the cold.
Mulch Around the Base
Just as you keep the branches warm with burlap, you can keep the roots warm with mulch. Adding mulch around your tree’s base—but not directly against the trunk—will add a layer of insulation between the roots and the snow above, keeping them from getting too cold. It’s like gifting your young trees a pair of warm, fuzzy socks!
Stakes to Stabilize
The cold, the blizzards, the howling wind! Keep your young trees upright and stable through the winter by adding stakes on either side and securing them with somewhat loose twine. Ensure that you plant your stakes far enough from the root ball that you won’t cause damage, and don’t tie it so tight that your tree can’t flex in the wind just a bit.
Protecting Young Trees from Deer
Tell Bambi to find his own snacks! Keep your young trees safe from deer with these tips:
Wrap the Trunks
If your young trees have dropped their leaves and it’s the tasty bark the deer are after, you can wrap the trunk with metal caging to keep it safe from sneaky snackers. If you wrap in burlap, this might be redundant, but if you have some very persistent deer, you can always double up!
Build a Fence
It may not be the prettiest solution in your yard, but installing a wire fence is a simple and effective way to keep the deer away from your young trees. Of course, it needs to be tall and wide enough that the deer can’t reach over the top and much on the leaves or the tree bark. Keep an eye on any wandering deer to ensure your fence is effective!
Install Deer Deterrents
If you’ve done any research on deer deterrents, you know that there are some very creative methods out there! From placing soap around your yard to spraying your plants with a blend of bovine blood, milk, eggs, garlic, and tabasco, the ingenuity never seems to end (nor does it stop grossing us out!). Some even try hanging dog hair in nylons from their trees. Essentially, the stronger and nastier the smell, the better your chances of keeping the deer away!
For more information on protecting your young trees in NY, visit Dees’ Nursery on Long Island! We’ll help you keep your little homies safe through the winter so they can grow up strong next year.