Recovering From Winter Damage

Winter has just begun, but it pays to already be thinking ahead to the end of the season and how you’ll ensure trees and turf will survive. With proper planning, you can ensure your plants – and you – will be in good shape come spring. We offer strategies and product suggestions to properly prepare for dealing with winter damage as the cold conditions set in.

About Winter Recovery

Springtime is plenty busy enough, including dealing with damage and problems accumulated over the winter. Cleanup is required to keep trees and turf in top shape. The kind of recovery needed will depend on what kind of winter you had. Was it especially cold, or temperate? How wet or dry was it? How much snowfall did you get? Keep all these factors in mind when thinking about associated problems and building a winter recovery plan.


Problems Associated with Winter Recovery

Winter brings with it several problems for plants. Trees and grasses have evolved to deal with cold and can usually survive low temperatures. Associated problems, such as snowstorms, excessive snowfall, ice, drought, or wind can cause problems. Heavy snows and ice storms can weigh down tree branches, leading to them snapping off. Heavy snows can also sometimes lead to snow mold growth on turf. Ice can form in low-lying areas such as divots, paths, or old streambeds, and form over roots or grass.

If it’s a dry winter with minimal snow and rainfall, you have to be concerned with drought damage in trees and turf. Winter desiccation can be a huge problem for grass, between dry conditions and hard winds. And with grounds freezing if temperatures drop too low, it’ll be more difficult to get water to plants that need it.

icy trees

Solutions for Winter Recovery

Don’t think of winter as a stressful time, but as an opportunity to assess where plants stand now and how to prepare for next season. Winter is a great time to deal with mechanical problems on trees. With leaves out of the way, it’s easier to survey trees for signs of invasive insect damage, such as from Emerald Ash Borer, Two-Lined Chestnut Borer, and other boring insects. Use this as a chance to prune dead limbs or branches damaged or broken by ice storms.

Prepare for a possibly dry winter at the beginning of the season by treating with Hydretain and NutriRoot. These treatments will last for 90 days and help ensure plants need less water to make it through the season. Shortstop 2SC will slow above-ground growth of trees and shrubs and help the roots grow and absorb even more needed nutrients and water.

Water newly established trees before it gets too cold. If it’s a dry winter and there’s a day above freezing, hand-water trees that need the extra water. If turf is looking dry, consider watering or even turning irrigation systems back on for a day or two before wintering the system again. This may seem like a lot of work, but it is better than rising losing whole sections of turfgrass due to excessive dryness. Otherwise you’ll need to apply seed or sod come spring!

Raking up leaves now (and mulching them!) will help prevent snow mold damage. Get one last mow in before winter comes and let your grass grow through the season. Mowing grass when it’s dryer or dormant will cause undue stress.

When spring comes, look to treating again with Hydretain and NutriRoot, and apply Na-X to flush excessive salts from the ground.


With the right plan, you’ll be able to deal with winter problems and come out the other side strong and prepared for a new growing season. Look into what kind of winter your region is expected to have and plan accordingly with management techniques and the right products.