Protecting Young Trees From Winter Freezing

After careful research and considerations regarding which tree to plant to enhance the beauty of your landscape, proper care is essential for maintaining the tree’s health and vitality. A part of proper tree care that may not immediately come to mind for many are the measures necessary to protect young trees from winter freezing. Conditions during the cold winter months can vary considerably from region to region, but cold snaps that include freezing temperatures or frosts are possible in any geographical location. Even when relatively warm temperatures begin to return during the spring, occasional cold snaps are possible. However, there are ways to protect your young trees when unseasonable or unexpected cold weather bears down on your region.

The greenhouse effect can be relatively easily and inexpensively replicated for landscaping trees by creating a miniature greenhouse. A miniature greenhouse provides a barrier against winter’s frigid temperatures and winds, encapsulating both warmth and protection. Create your own by first establishing a frame around the tree using wood or metal posts or PVC pipe. Then, cover the frame with plastic sheeting, a tarp, or another type of insulator. Secure the insulating cover using nails, staples, or by tying, whichever method is most appropriate for the materials used. Even if temperatures drop to potentially hazardous conditions at night, they may rise considerably during the daytime hours. This may be especially true during spring. Always bear in mind that, depending upon the temperature, the miniature greenhouse may need to be removed for a period of time so that the young tree does not swelter.

Consider protecting young trees by using thick cloths. Blankets, sheets, towels, or even burlap you may have on hand are excellent options. Depending upon the thickness of the cloth used, be certain the young tree is hefty enough to support its weight. If so, cover the tree’s branches with the items you wish to use or have on hand, and then wrap any excess around as much of the root as is possible. One potential drawback exists using this method of protection. Should any manner of precipitation, including drizzle, rain, or fog, followed by freezing temperatures, affect the region, the cloths may freeze to the tree. Consult an Austin tree trimming specialist with any questions or concerns you have if implementing this method.

If, after covering the branches of the tree, none of the covering items will reach the root, consider using mulch for added protection. Adding mulch to the root system provides insulation. You may even choose to use non-traditional and inexpensive types of mulch to achieve this. Perhaps you have residual compost from your summer garden or grass clippings from your summer lawn mowing. Perhaps you have a mound of leaves or pine needles from your fall raking. Even shredded paper can be recycled into mulch. Any number of items you may already have on hand may serve to protect your young tree’s roots and base during winter.

Because much forethought and care go into establishing an ideal landscape, be prepared to protect your young trees from the bitter cold that frequently accompanies winter. Contact an Austin tree removal professional to assist you with maintaining a healthy, viable tree during winter and beyond.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit

Share this post

Recent Articles

Serious little hardworking girl watered a planted tree from
Arborist's Journal

Watering Trees in Central Texas

Summer 2022 is shaping up to see a return to drought conditions with little rain and temperatures already hotter than we have seen in a …

Read More →
Arborist's Journal

Arboriculture over the last 20 years

A personal reflection on how Urban Forestry has grown over the last 20 years When I first began studying arboriculture at Virginia Tech, in many …

Read More →
Arborist's Journal

The incredible shedding live oak

The incredible shedding live oak Trees are constant shedding organisms.  As they grow and put on new “cones of wood” throughout their structure, the branches, …

Read More →

Get A Free Quote

First start by entering your zipcode. After submission, you’ll be redirected to where you’ll be able to fill out more information about yourself and sign up for your complimentary consultation.