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The South Plains has already seen some record-setting lows this year: November 12 saw a temperature of 15 degrees at the Lubbock airport, beating the previous record for that day by 4 degrees. What does that have to do with trees? Well, cold snaps like that one can hasten the dormancy of trees—that is, the period when they conserve energy by halting the growth process.

Though they may be dormant, trees in winter still need protection to make it through the season in top condition, and fall is an excellent time of year to take steps to that end. This post takes a look at three steps in particular that can help protect your trees.

Step 1: Book a Pruning Appointment for Your Oak Trees

Most trees benefit from pruning, but winter is a particularly good time to prune your oak trees. For example, this post from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach points out that pruning oak trees in winter can help protect them from wilt infections—a potentially lethal disease. The reason: This infection is carried by beetles, who can be attracted to the sap produced by a recently pruned oak. However, the beetles are not active in winter, making it much safer to prune.

That, plus the additional benefits of pruning for an oak tree’s health, combine to mean that demand for pruning services in winter is high. You should consider booking a pruning appointment this fall to be sure that your trees don’t get left out. 

Step 2: Fertilize

As covered in a recent newsletter from Hildebrandt Tree Tech, it’s extremely important to fertilize your trees during the fall. Fertilization gives trees the nutrients they need for proper root growth. Additionally, though the trees are about to go dormant for the winter, proper fertilization in fall will ensure they have what they need to resume growing in the spring. If you’re not sure where to start, a professional tree-care service can provide the fertilization needed to keep your trees at their best.

Step 3: Cut Back on Water

This step different from the other two in that it provides advice on what not to do. During fall, be careful to not over-water your trees. In fact, David Beaulieu, writing for The Spruce, recommends not watering trees at all during the early part of the season. He recommends holding off until leaves fall from the deciduous trees on your property. The water stoppage is meant to allow trees to enter a “transitional phase” while avoiding new growth that will be vulnerable to winter conditions. When it is time to water your trees in fall, prioritize infrequent deep waterings over frequent shallow waterings.

Your Tree Care Experts 

Want to ask an expert a tree-related question or schedule a service appointment? If you’re in the West Texas area, you can do so by contacting Hildebrandt Tree Tech through our contact form or by calling 806-441-7722. With four decades of experience, Hildebrandt Tree Tech provides services including trimming and pruning, tree removal, stump grinding, plant health-care measures, and more.