Top 3 Winter Tree Damages and How to Prevent Them

Wintertime is not a great time for trees. Not only are they more susceptible to health and structural difficulties, but it is also more challenging for you to implement the proper inspections needed to ensure they remain in good health throughout the entirety of the season. For these reasons, it is wise to hire a professional tree service provider for all your winter tree care needs. Otherwise, your landscaping trees may fall victim to one of the top 3 most common winter tree problems.

Continue reading to learn what these common winter tree problems are, and where to find the best tree service in town.

Winter Tree Service Indianapolis Indiana 317-783-2518
Winter Tree Service Indianapolis Indiana 317-783-2518

The Most Common Tree Damage Threats in the Winter

Among all of the possible problems that trees can experience in the winter, the top three you need to watch out for are cold damage, frost heaving, and seasonal drought. For each, here is a brief explanation of their causes, symptoms, and prevention strategies:

❶ Cold Damage

The high and low seasonal temperature spectrum can greatly affect trees, especially if they are already weakened or sick. The afternoon sun can be very warm for trees, and then the nightly lows bring them back into a freeze. These changes cause a condition informally known as “cold damage”, which is often distinguishable by a wide range of symptoms, such as cracked or peeling bark, and even inner bark damage. Trees that experience late seasonal growth are more vulnerable to cold damage.

To reverse cold damage, you will need to implement a customized and strategic tree care plan with the help of an industry professional. To prevent cold damage in your landscaping trees, you will need to do the same, except ahead of time, before the winter season is upon us again next year.

❷ Frost Heaving

Frost heaving is a typically winter tree problem, especially in regions where snow and ice are abundant. This condition starts in the soil. As the outdoor climates freeze and fluctuate, the underground water within the soil beneath trees also freezes. This occurrence develops ice in the soil, which causes the soil to swell upwards towards the base of the tree trunk. You may have seen the ramifications of this condition before in concrete, sidewalks, and pavements.  Frost heaving is a problem for tree because it weakens and damages roots, which can then make a tree more susceptible to toppling over.

Frost heaving is not something you can really prevent. If it does occur, you will need professional tree service to ensure the tree is not a hazard or liability. Routine tree care is vital to grow strong, healthy, resistant trees; if you stay on top of tree care, a tree has a better chance of surviving frost heave.

❸ Seasonal Drought

You would think that trees get plenty of water in the winter with all of the snow, but the reality is that freezing temperatures can cause a tree to lose water reserves at a much faster rate; so fast, they cannot absorb enough water from the ground in time to replace the loss. This results in winter drought, which can be identified through a number of symptoms like branch loss, cracking bark, wildlife infestation, and death. Seasonal drought can also lead to late growth in spring, sunburned leaves in the summer, and premature foliage loss in fall.

How to Prevent Damage to Trees in the Wintertime

To help trees avoid seasonal drought, your best approach would include the assistance of an Indianapolis IN tree care company. They have the knowledge and resources necessary to ensure your landscaping trees are healthy and ready to take on winter conditions. In addition to tree service, you can also help tree’s retain moisture through adequate mulching, year-round.

Are your landscaping trees suffering this winter? Contact Complete Tree Care at 317-783-2518 for licensed Indianapolis Indiana tree service and affordable price. We serve both residential and commercial clients all throughout Central Indiana.

Related Posts:

Can You Prune Trees in Winter?
Winter-Resistant Tree Species for Indiana
Should I Brace My Trees For Winter?

Indianapolis Tree Care 317-783-2518
Indianapolis Tree Care 317-783-2518

Common Winter Tree Pests in Indiana

Although the majority of insects and similar pests turn in for the winter season, that does not mean they have disappeared. In fact, many species of bugs will brave the cold, harsh climates. Unfortunately, this puts our landscaping trees at risk since winter insects commonly target them for food and shelter.

If you are concerned about the quality and protection of your trees, continue reading to learn which winter tree pests to watch out for, as well as, how to treat or prevent them next year.

Indianapolis Tree Service 317-783-2518
Indianapolis Tree Service 317-783-2518

Red Spider Mites

Although they are also very active in fall and spring, red spider mites are still something to look out for in the winter season. What really makes them a nuisance is their omnivorous appetite, as they will feed on a wide variety of plants and shrubs. However, apple trees are their main love, and they target them quite aggressively this time of year. Any crevices near the bottom of the tree’s trunk are where the spider mites like to hang out during the winter.

Here they will hide until the climate warms up. Because of this innate habit of survival, it is difficult to spot a red spider mite infestation. They are very tiny, resembling small red speckles of dust, and will spin webs just like other spiders. Look for these signs if you suspect an outbreak within your landscaping. Fortunately, they are a bit easier to get rid this time of year because they are not reproducing as rapidly.


Aphids are trickier winter tree pests since there are more than 4,000 known species around the world. This makes them harder to identify, which in turn, leaves many tree infestations misdiagnosed and mistreated. Furthermore, their high numbers allow their hordes to surmount a plant quickly. Their eggs are laid in the fall, and remain dormant within trees during the winter season. As a result, trees can experience a rapid decline in health and structural integrity.

Codling Moth Grubs

If you can picture a worm crawling out of an apple, like in those fairytale movies you used to watch as a kid, you might be imagining a codling moth grub. That is because these common winter tree pests target fruit trees, including apple trees, pear trees, and cherry trees. Like spider mites, they will enter the tiny crevices and hide away for the winter, which overall, damages a tree.

How to Treat and Defend Your Trees

There are plenty of ways to prevent pest outbreaks in your trees. The most effective method is routine tree care, namely trimming and pruning. This promotes healthy growth and lasting stability in trees. See our blog, “When is it Time to Trim My Trees?” to learn how to develop a routine schedule for your property. Weeding and mulching are two additional tasks that will make identifying pests easier.

You can also choose to apply a spray-on pest defender repellent on your trees in the fall for winter protection. Be sure to hire a professional company for tree spraying services. Another technique is to apply glue around your trees in the form of bands, which can prevent insects from crawling up the trunks and into the canopies.

Indianapolis Tree Care You Can Trust

Call Complete Tree Care at 317-783-2518 for prompt and professional Indianapolis tree service you can trust. We are experienced tree care technicians that can resolve your tree problems, regardless of your projects size or scope. We offer a wide range of tree removal and tree services, for both residential and commercial properties. We even offer free estimates and free tree care advice!

Indianapolis Tree Care 317-783-2518
Indianapolis Tree Care 317-783-2518