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Winter Tree and Shrub Care

In winter while most trees and shrubs are dormant in Pierce and south King County, there are plenty of things to do (or think about) to prepare trees for a healthy start in the spring.

Add Mulch.  A thin layer (2" or so) of composted organic mulch around trees and shrubs will help moderate soil moisture and temperature. It will also help the surface soil 'heat up' a little faster in the spring for that first early new growth.


Disease.  A final raking and cleanup under and around trees and shrubs is one of the best natural ways to help reduce leaf fungal pathogens. Most fungal spores 'hang out' on or under the fallen leaves, waiting for late winter rains and warmer weather to start 'popping' into the air to re-infect the new leaf buds. Stone fruits (cherry trees, plum trees, peach trees, and apricot trees), flowering cherry trees (weeping, kwanzan, autumnalis) as well as apple trees and pear trees are particularly susceptible to leaf spot, brown rot and apple scab. This simple final cleanup before the end of January can really help reduce future outbreak levels in your trees and shrubs. Time invested now will pay big dividends in spring and summer. Your trees will look beautiful and you'll avoid the time and expense of helping your trees and shrubs overcome leaf fungal pathogens.


Planting.  Most nurseries receive lots of new trees and shrubs in early January. As long as the ground isn't frozen, winter is an excellent time for planting. Remember, without foliage the plants in your garden look farther apart, so be extra aware of spacing. Read our article, How to Plant a Tree, or call us to plant your trees and you'll get them off to a healthy start.


Pruning.  Winter is a great time for pruning most trees and large shrubs. You'll find it is easier to see the branch and trunk structure with the leaves gone. Only remove dead branches and those that are poorly placed within the canopy. Fruit and flowering trees are perhaps the best candidates for winter pruning – it is easier to distinguish between fruit and vegetative sprouts, for instance – and the fruit buds have not set yet.


Tree Safety.  Winter is an excellent time to have your large deciduous trees inspected by a certified arborist. Broken or dead tree limbs, split tops, decay columns, fungal fruiting bodies, etc. are easier to see when the leaves are gone. You are responsible for the safety of your trees so it's important for you to know how healthy they are. Act now to remedy tree hazards before they cause injury or property damage. Knowing your trees are healthy provides welcome peace of mind during our wild winter ice and wind storms in Pierce and south King County.


The Thundering Oak team of certified arborists and tree specialists have the expertise and experience to help with all of your tree and landscape care needs.

Contact us today to schedule tree care services, 253-288-8733.

Prepare your trees and shrubs for a healthy start in the spring.
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  Thundering Oak Enterprises, Inc.
Local: : 253-288-TREE (8733)

Local: 425-226-TREE (8733)

P.O. Box 1847, Auburn, WA 98071

Serving Pierce County and South King County
Algona, Auburn, Black Diamond, Bonnie Lake, Burien, Covington, Des Moines, Dupont, Edgewood,
Federal Way, Fife, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Kent, Lakeland North, Lakeland South, Lakewood, Maple
Valley, Normandy Park, Pacific, Parkland, Puyallup, Renton, Ruston, Spanaway, Sumner, Tillicum,
Tacoma University Place and all areas in South King County and North Pierce County.

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