Inspect trees for defects such as decay, cankers, cracks or dead branches. Prune or remove
Winter is time to prune trees. Train young shade trees to have a single trunk with strong,
well spaced branches. On all trees remove branches that are dead, diseased, broken,
cracked or rubbing on other branches.
Lawn sprinkler systems can cause irrigation overload. Over watering kills trees.
Irrigation water is alkaline and trees prefer slightly acidic rainwater. Alkaline water
can lead to iron chlorosis.
Processed urban wood waste makes good mulch for trees. Order truck loads of 5-100 cubic
yards during winter for spring delivery.
Plan to finish winter pruning before the end of March.
Wash de-icing salt off trees in grates, medians, and other high-salt areas while the
ground is still frozen.
Avoid pruning trees while leaves are forming. They are putting all their energy into leaf
and wood production as they get ready for summer.
To prevent the spread of oak wilt disease, don't prune any oak tree
in April, May or June.
Use lawn and garden chemicals with care. Shade trees, like dandelions, are broadleaf
Look up before you plant trees. Choose a small maturing tree to plant under or near
To reduce birch leaf miner damage keep birch roots cool and shaded. Use a four inch depth
of woodchip mulch under the canopy of the tree.
Prune trees for clearance over streets and sidewalks and near signs. Many cities require
13 feet of clearance over streets and 8 feet over sidewalks.
Water Trees! Trees need at least one inch of rainfall each week May through July and a
little less in August and September.
Choose a dry day to prune trees. Spores of some tree diseases spread during humid or damp
Early fall color in a hard maple tree may be a symptom of girdling root syndrome. An
affected tree has no root flare at the base.
Inspect young lindens and hard maples for stem girdling roots. If you can't see root
flares at the base dig until you find them and make sure that none wrap around the trunk.
Remove stakes and ties from trees planted more than two months ago.
Avoid the mulch volcano! Before snow falls, pull mulch 6" away from the base of
Wrap young trees with smooth bark to protect them from winter sunscald. Remove the
wrapping in April.
Fertilize trees in autumn as leaves fall.
Inspect rodent guards on crabapple and other fruit bearing trees before the snow flies--be
sure that mice cannot crawl in through the bottom.
Begin winter pruning once trees are completely dormant.
Contact an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist to schedule
winter pruning. Check out the UMN Extension page for companies in Minnesota
with Certified Arborists on staff. http://www.cnr.umn.edu/FR/extension/urbanforestry/arboristspage.htm
Dress up a special tree with holiday lights, but plan to remove them before the spring
growing season gets underway.