How to Winterize your Trees

There is no escaping the harsh weather of an Ottawa winter, especially for the trees. This season we gave away 15,000 trees at our Tree Giveaway events and now, we want to make sure you know how to prepare and care for them over the winter!

The following are tree winterizing steps you can take to prepare for the cold weather:


  • Weeding around the tree before applying mulch helps ensure there are no competing plants.



  • Mulch helps keep the root zone warmer in winter by blanketing it from the cold. 
  • Make sure the mulch does not touch the tree’s trunk. Leave 2-3 inches of space between the trunk and your ‘donut pile’ of mulch.


  • Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered until the weather is consistently cold. It is not uncommon to continue watering through November and December. 


  • September/October: use granular fertilizer to improve growth in the following spring.
  • Caution: do not fertilize evergreens (plants with foliage that retain their colour function throughout the year. E.g. conifers). This can bring about new growth in the plants which can be damaged by freezing temperatures.
  • Trees whose leaves fall in autumn can be fertilized until the ground freezes.


  • Wrapping your tree with tree wrap helps to protect your tree from the sun and prevent sunscald (the freezing of bark following high temperatures in winter, resulting in permanent visible damage). 


If you’d like more information on how to winterize your tree, check out these websites: 


*Supplies can be found at Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Amazon.

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