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Why You Should Wrap Your Trees for Winter

It’s that time of year: when the cold winds blow, the leaves have fallen, and trees begin to look…like burlap-wrapped blobs. What’s the reason for wrapping trees in the winter? How will winter tree wrapping help your trees? Here are a few reasons to wrap trees during cold months, and what you should know about tree wrapping.

What are the benefits of tree wrapping?

Do trees need to be kept warm, and why? Actually, the main purpose of tree wrapping is preventing…sunburn. 

Say what? Sunscald is a condition that can affect trees in the winter. It’s caused by dramatic temperature shifts. On a sunny winter day, the sun warms the bark, warming the tissue underneath. When the sun fades, the temperature drops, the bark cools off, potentially damaging the tissue and causing cracking and drying out in the bark.

This particularly affects trees with thin bark. A related issue can occur with evergreen trees. Sun warms the green needles, but temperature drops can cause needles to dry out and turn brown or drop.

Sunscald will seldom kill a tree (although this can be a risk with very young trees), but the resulting bark damage can leave a tree vulnerable to insect damage and decay. There are also aesthetic effects of cracked and peeling bark.

Tree wrapping can also help shield trees from the effects of strong winter winds if you have trees in an exposed windy area.

Which Type of Trees Should You Wrap?

So, which type of trees do you need to worry about wrapping? Sunscald can particularly affect new young trees and thin-barked trees

Ash, maple, linden, birch, box elder, and fruit trees are all thinner-barked trees that benefit from wrapping. Japanese maples are especially a popular choice to wrap as a thin-barked ornamental tree.

Newly planted trees, trees planted late in the season, and young trees in their first few years, can all benefit from winter wrapping. Over time older trees develop thicker bark and become stronger.

For evergreens, cedars are a common type of tree to wrap. Balsam fir, Douglas fir, spruce, and eastern white pine are also vulnerable to sunscald.

What Types of Tree Wrapping Are There?

There are a variety of tree wrapping products available. Thin fabric wraps, plastics, brown paper wrapping and burlap wrap are all common types. Plastic guards can be useful for some thin trees and used again the next season. Commercial paper and fabric tree wraps are typically around a few inches wide and sold in spools. 

Burlap is a popular choice for evergreens. It should be loosely wrapped around trees and secured with twine at the top, bottom, and middle.

When Should You Wrap Trees?

Late November is a good time to wrap trees. Don’t wrap trees tightly when using commercial wraps: wrapping needs to allow for air circulation. Paper and fabric wraps can either be secured with twine or some are able to be folded in at the ends. If you need help wrapping your trees, arborists are experts in getting trees dressed for winter and can provide the best recommendations for your plants and property.

When Do You Unwrap Trees?

Ah, spring. The trees are budding, the birds are singing…It seems a long way off right now, but it will come! Tree wrap should be removed in early spring, when winter storms have ended (or most of them — no need to wait to make sure there’s no last May snowstorm). When other trees start budding, it’s time to remove wrapping. Leaving wrap on too long can create moist conditions for infestations and disease. Late March to early April is the best time to remove wrap.

Need help preparing your yard for winter? Contact Vista Tree for all your tree care needs

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Cheryl Cooke
09/05/2023
James responded quickly to my request for a quote and he and his crew did an extremely professional job with perfect cleanup. I would recommend these guys in a heartbeat. James is an excellent communicator and a pleasure to work with. Thanks for giving my garden a great jump on Spring.
Lawrence Tavers
17/04/2023
James and Michael have been the best arborists I’ve ever dealt with. First off, they were friendly and professional. They didn’t just throw out a number, they went through the job and what needed to be done and what didn’t and gave me a reasonable price. On the day, the crew came and did a fantastic job. It was a hard one but they made it look easy. And the clean up was perfect, my yard looked better than it did before they came. They’re my go to from now on.
Johnathan Melnick
15/04/2023
I got two trees removed for a renovation project, and vista was on it right from the start. Report came through right away, permits right after but then due to some cost over runs I had to delay for 4 months and hold off on the removals until last month. Trees came down so well, crew was really professional. They left the site looking CLEAN and thats saying a lot as it had a lot of builder garbage around .stump grinding happened right away. James and Mike went above and beyond to manage this and help me out when the unexpected happened. Definitely recommend.
Ronald Romick
13/04/2023
Very professional work. We are very satisfied with the quality of the work done. We would recommend Vista 100 percent. Great quality, performance and professional.
John Rydzkowski
04/04/2023
I had James and his crew cut down and remove my 40'+ blue spruce before the wind blew it over. There was an urgency in getting the work done and they were there for me. They were very professional, worked safely and cleaned up when they were finished. They also showed me proof of insurance and WSIB which is very important as a home owner. I'm happy to recommend them to anyone. Thanks 😊
Marlee Pinsker
28/03/2023
Vista Tree Management came to our house and did a wonderful job helping to protect the roof from squirrel damage. James walked around the perimeter of the house with me and pointed out every tree branch that might possibly be the instrument of a squirrel finding its way to the roof. He then set up a time, came over promptly, and in short time cut down many tree limbs and branches. He consulted with me about whether anything else needed to be done, and when I pointed out one last branch, he cut it down. I feel I have finally found a tree service which has the knowledge and expertise to help with my property. My husband and I are more than satisfied! The staff at Vista Tree Management were so very helpful.
Kristian Alexander Kennedy
15/02/2023
We had the pleasure of working with Vista recently and we could not have asked for better service. We have a small apple tree and hedge in our front yard that we wanted pruned. As part of the quote, we had also requested that some time be spent with us as the pruning occurred so that we could learn how to properly care for our garden going forward. James was prompt, responsive and incredibly thorough. He completed the tasks exactly as we had discussed and as was quoted. He was patient and spent lots of time teaching us the various pruning methods that he was utilizing. Not only does he have excellent attention to detail while pruning, but he also takes great care in cleaning up all the plant debris once he was finished the job. We can’t thank him enough for the excellent service provided. We will be sure to reach out to Vista for all of our future pruning/landscaping needs. Thanks James.
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