Updated: Sep 7
Gardeners sometimes ask “Is it important to wrap our trees during the winter and if so, when should I wrap them?”
YES, we are in a “high desert” part of the country, making it extremely important to protect young trees from sun damage during the winter months. Every spring, folks come in and tell me that damage has occurred to their newly planted tree. Typically, without even seeing a picture of the damage I can tell them that damage is from our intense winter sun burning the trunk of the tree. Depending on the time of year they show me the damage, there is several things that must be done to save the tree. Even then it may take a number of years to recover and at times, there may be no saving the tree.
So when should you wrap the tree? We recommend doing so around the 15th of October. By that time, many of the leaves will have fallen off and the days are cool for working in the landscape. Start by wrapping the trunk near the base of the tree and spiraling upward, overlapping the previous wrap by about 25%. Continue upward till you reach the first or second major limb and stop at that point. Be certain to keep the tree wrap tight as you spiral around the tree. To secure the tree wrap in place, we use masking tape and completely wrap the top and bottom, going around the trunk 3 or 4 times. As a general rule, we recommend wrapping young deciduous trees each fall until the trunk has produced a corky bark or if the tree typically has smooth bark, wrap the trunk for at least the first 5 years after planting.
Now, come spring you will want to remove the wrap. This will allow some sun exposure which can gradually cause the bark to thicken and thus protect the tree from sun damage. Some folks ask why wrap in the winter when it’s so hot during the summer. First, during the winter months there are no leaves on the tree to help protect it from are extreme conditions. Second, when it snows during the winter, the sun reflects off the snow and can cause damage to a plant. If you live in a part of the country as we do, you’ll often see snow skiers come back from a skiing trip with a great sunburn, caused from the sun reflecting off the snow. Having said that we recommend unwrapping trees around the middle of March.
If you have a question about your garden, always feel free to give us a call. We have been in the nursery business for nearly 45 years and can help you with your gardening questions.