Correcting Winter Damage

 In Tree and Shrub Care

Spring is the most beautiful time of year. The sun shines and the temperature warms up, bringing with it new life and green growth. However, in many parts of the country, spring also reveals the damage that your plants and landscape have endured due to the harshness of winter. Below are a few of the most common issues and tips on how to prevent damage next winter:

Winter Burn:

Winter burn often appears when plants are beginning their growth cycle again for the year. Due to a lack of water intake throughout the winter, browning will start on the tips of the plants and begin to work its way down. It is mostly seen on newly transplanted trees and shrubs because their root systems aren’t fully established, but all types of evergreens can be affected by winter burn.


Do not prune too early or too aggressively. Mulch around trees and shrubs and continue to water them until the ground freezes. For transplants, shield the plant with a barrier of stakes and burlap – avoid wrapping them snugly with burlap because this will create an ideal environment for disease.

Frost Heave:

Frost heave takes place when the freeze/thaw cycle causes shallow-rooted plants to be pushed out of the ground. This can happen if plants are installed too late in the season because they don’t have the time to develop an adequate root system.


Planting earlier in the season will give the roots enough time to develop; adding mulch while planting can help maintain more constant soil temperatures.

Animal Damage:

The most common critters that will feed off of your plants throughout the winter are rabbits and squirrels; however moles and deer are also a year-long nuisance. Most plants, including your turf grass, will recover from animal damage, but it can be unsightly until they fully recuperate.


Fencing is the best bet to keep critters out of your lawn and landscape. However, fencing is not always the most practical option and smaller animals can still sneak under or around the fence. Repellants work, but only about 60-80 percent of the time. The best option is to choose plants that are proven to be unappealing to animals.

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