I’m starting to see more winter damage on plants and lawns. Here are a few pictures that I just took yesterday as I was out on Landscape Design Consultations.
The first is a Frost Crack on a Red Maple tree. Frost cracks occur when the the bark and the wood directly beneath the bark get heated up by the sun on a winter day causing the cells to expand. Then when the temperatures drop after dark the cells on the bark contract and crack. Red Maple’s are notorious for having this issue and it will usually occur on the south side of the tree facing the sun. Although a Frost Crack usually won’t harm the tree in and of itself, it can allow an entry point for insects and disease spores that could cause the tree further harm.
The second picture is a Dwarf Alberta Spruce with browning of the tips caused by winter desiccation, which occurs when the plants lose moisture through transpiration that can’t be replaced quickly enough because the soil is frozen. Minor windburn like this won’t kill the plant and hopefully it will recover quickly this spring as the new growth flushes out. We will help it along a little with a spring fertilizer application as part of our Spring Cleanup on this property.
Broadleaf Evergreens such as Holly, Rhododendron, Azalea and Pieris are especially susceptible to winter desiccation and should be planted in areas where they will be protected from winters winds. It is not at all unusual for Broadleaf Evergreens to suffer winter damage so severe that they need to be replaced.
This picture is of a trail left by Voles, also known as field mice, who were apparently active this winter under the snow and leaving these trails behind. Voles (not to be confused with Moles) are little critters about 3-9” long that leave trails in the turf that kind of look like road maps. This damage isn’t permanent and will usually be erased as the turf begins to flush out in the next month or so.
Your spring Lawn Fertilization that hopefully is part of your Lawn Care Program will help correct this type of damage if you see it in your lawn.
This is a photo of Rabbit Damage that I discussed in a previous post. I continue to see this kind of damage where the rabbits were feeding on landscape plants while many of their other food sources were covered by snow this winter.
Matt McCoy is the President of McCoy Landscape Services, and a Nationally Certified Landscape Professional and has been involved in the Green Industry for over 35 years. McCoy Landscape Services is a full service Landscape Design/ Build and Maintenance company that was founded in 1977 and services the Central Ohio Communities of Powell, Delaware, Lewis Center, Westerville, Marion, Mt. Gilead, Upper Sandusky, Bucyrus, Galion and Mansfield.