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PO Box 858 Firestone, CO 80520

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by Megan Townsend

Closeup of pine needles and pine cones

When the weather turns cold‭, ‬and the leaves are gone each winter‭, ‬it’s easy to forget our trees and shrubs still need care‭. ‬You can do a few things at home to keep your trees and shrubs healthy through the winter and ready for Spring‭.‬

Winter Watering

While trees and shrubs are dormant in the winter‭, ‬young trees especially need water‭. ‬On average‭, ‬five gallons per week on young‭ ‬trees and shrubs will be enough‭. ‬Water with a 5-gallon bucket‭, ‬or you can turn on the hose at a trickle for about 10‭ ‬minutes‭. ‬Just be sure to remove the hose from the spigot and drain properly when finished to avoid costly damage to your plumbing‭. ‬

You should not water if it is under 40°‭ ‬F or if there has been substantial snow or rain within the past week‭. ‬Older‭, ‬established trees are less likely to need watering‭ ‬through the winter but may need watering as well during a drought‭.‬

Fruit Trees

Fruit trees such as crabapple‭, ‬pear‭, ‬and cherry trees are prone to a disease called fireblight‭, ‬which is easily spread with pruning tools in the summer months‭. ‬Pruning during the dormant season decreases the risk of spreading fireblight‭. ‬While you can prune all trees year-round‭, ‬even non-fruit trees benefit from pruning during the winter months‭. ‬

The best part of having a fruit tree is enjoying the beautiful blossoms each Spring‭. ‬These beautiful blossoms‭, ‬however‭, ‬leave these trees vulnerable to breakage during heavy spring snowstorms‭. ‬A great way to avoid this is to make sure your trees‭, ‬including‭ ‬young trees‭, ‬are pruned every 3-5‭ ‬years‭. ‬Savvy homeowners may wish to do this themselves‭; ‬however‭, ‬once a tree is large enough‭ ‬to need a ladder‭, ‬it’s best to leave this hazardous work to a properly trained arborist‭. (‬See Hiring an Arborist below‭.) ‬If you get caught by a spring storm‭, ‬be sure to knock the snow off the branches throughout the storm‭. ‬Ensure you remove snow by pushing up on the branches from below instead of hitting from above to avoid breakage‭.‬

Tree Removal

Sadly‭, ‬sometimes a tree needs to be removed due to death‭, ‬damage‭, ‬or improper placement‭. ‬Winter is a good time for removals as the ground is frozen and your flowers and lawn are dormant‭. ‬Removal in the winter reduces the risk of damage to the landscape‭. ‬Unless your tree is very small‭, ‬removal should always be done by qualified arborists to minimize the risk of harm to you and your‭ ‬property‭.‬

Hiring an Arborist

Sometimes it’s best to have a professional evaluate and treat your trees‭, ‬but how do you choose the right company‭? ‬Here are a few quick tips‭:‬‭ ‬The company should have an ISA-certified arborist on staff‭. ‬They should also be insured for auto‭, ‬general liability‭, ‬and workers’‭ ‬compensation‭. ‬An arborist should be licensed in your municipality if that is required‭. ‬Longmont and Erie both have high standards for their licensing programs‭. ‬If the company you are considering does not have these qualifications‭, ‬look elsewhere‭. ‬It’s also a good idea to get 2-3‭ ‬estimates for tree work‭. ‬Most companies provide free estimates‭. ‬Your trees are an essential part of your landscape‭, ‬and you want them in the best hands‭.‬

Megan Townsend and her husband Hunter Townsend co-founded Altitude Arborist‭, ‬a local tree care company‭. ‬Megan manages the nitty‭-‬gritty business details while Hunter‭, ‬an ISA-Certified Arborist‭, ‬manages all things tree-related‭. ‬They live with their daughters‭, ‬dogs‭, ‬and a menagerie of other furry‭, ‬scaled‭, ‬and winged creatures in Broomfield‭.