It’s easy to forget that the large trees in your yard might need protection in the winter seasons, but you should take care of them just as you would any other green perennial.
Protecting from Deer
One threat to your trees is local deer. They are hungry and will strip the bark off exposed trees if they get the chance. While it may not seem like major damage, it can kill a tree come spring. Burlap is fine but a determined deer may be able to chew through it or just get it pulled off. Plastic tree guards or wire mesh are a more reliable way to protect your tree trunks. These are also handy protections against any bark damage done by rabbits as well.
For smaller trees, just remember that these shields need to be removed when spring arrives or the tree won’t be able to grow outward properly. You can also trim back any lower branches to prevent deer from pulling on them to get at the edible buds and bark at the ends of the smaller twigs.
A little added insurance to keep deer from ruining your trees in the winter is to have a few repellent packs around your property to keep them out of the yard to begin with.
Protecting from Snow
In this case, we’re talking about damage to branches that break under heavy loads of snow or ice. This can be a tricky subject because too much “care” can really lead to a more damaging situation.
If your trees or shrubs are weighed down with loose snow to the point that the branches are on the verge of snapping, you can gently brush or knock the snow load off. On the other hand, very wet snow that doesn’t brush off should be left alone. Trying to knock a solid wad of snow can lead to even more breakage. The same idea goes for a coating of ice.
Tree branches are actually quite elastic and can handle the seasonal bending that comes with winter snows. When you start getting a little too vigorous with your help, things will break that would have otherwise been fine.
Protecting from Cold
This is the other side of winter weather: the low temperatures. Unless you are trying to keep trees that are not really intended for your climate, you probably don’t have much to worry about in terms of the cold itself. Some burlap around the trunks can add insulation but there is nothing you can do about the crown of the tree.