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Tree Care

Preparing Your Yard for an Alberta Winter: Tree and Shrub Edition

By September 8, 2023September 26th, 2023No Comments

Your trees and shrubs are an integral part of your yard landscaping and are a large investment.

Come fall when we are applying our fall Tree and Shrub Deep Root Fertilizer service, we are often asked, “What more should I do to prepare my trees and shrubs for Alberta’s harsh winters?”

Preparing your trees and shrubs for winter in Alberta is essential to ensure their survival and health during the cold season.

Here are some important steps to take:

1. Water

Proper hydration before winter is crucial. Give your trees and shrubs a deep watering in late fall, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. This helps them withstand winter desiccation. Winter desiccation, also known as winter drying or winter burn, is a common problem that affects plants, particularly evergreen trees and shrubs, during the winter months. It occurs when the moisture loss from a plant’s leaves or needles exceeds the ability of the roots to absorb water from the frozen or dry soil.


Apply a layer of mulch around the base of your trees and shrubs.

This helps insulate the soil, retain moisture, and protect the roots from extreme temperature fluctuations. Use organic materials like wood chips or shredded bark, and apply the mulch to a depth of 2-4 inches.

3. Prune

Remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches from your trees and shrubs. Prune them in late fall or early winter when they are dormant. Avoid extensive pruning, as it may stimulate new growth that can be vulnerable to winter damage.

4. Wrap

Consider wrapping the trunks of young or vulnerable trees with burlap or tree wraps. This provides protection against winter sunscald and helps regulate temperature fluctuations.

5. Fertilize

Avoid fertilizing your trees and shrubs in late fall, as it can stimulate new growth that may not have time to harden off before winter.

Earth Smart Property Solutions offers a fall Tree and Shrub Deep Root Fertilization service which is applied mid September to late October. This application will increase the plant’s ability to produce and store energy reserves before freeze-up and will assist with winter hardiness. You can learn more about this service here.

6. Pest Control

Inspect your trees and shrubs for signs of pests or diseases. If necessary, treat them accordingly before winter arrives. Consult with a professional arborist or local extension service for guidance on pest control methods suitable for your specific area.

7. Protect from Wildlife

If you have issues with wildlife damaging your trees and shrubs during winter, consider installing physical barriers such as fencing or tree guards. This helps prevent browsing and rubbing damage by deer, rabbits, or other animals.

8. Snow Removal

After heavy snowfalls, gently remove accumulated snow from the branches of your trees and shrubs using a broom or by shaking them lightly. This helps prevent branches from bending or breaking under the weight of the snow. This is especially important to do if your trees still have lots of leaves.

9. Winter Watering

If the winter season is particularly dry or if there is a lack of snow cover, consider providing supplemental watering to your trees and shrubs. Water sparingly when temperatures are above freezing and the ground is not frozen.

10. Monitor

Regularly inspect your trees and shrubs throughout winter, especially after severe weather events. Look for signs of damage, stress, or disease. Early detection allows for timely interventions and helps prevent further issues.

Remember, the specific care requirements for trees and shrubs can vary depending on their species and individual needs. It’s always beneficial to consult with a professional arborist or horticulturist for guidance tailored to your specific trees and shrubs.

If you have any questions about preparing your lawn, trees and shrubs for winter, be sure to contact us and our team will be happy to help.