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The winter weather in Calgary is a challenge for any landscape. Trees and shrubs can sustain damage due to the variable weather. It is important to take care of trees throughout the winter to keep them healthy for next spring’s thaw.
Calgary Landscaping: The Challenges of Winter Weather
Calgary’s unique position in southern Alberta places it right in the path of the warm chinook winds coming off the eastern slopes of the Rockies. The winds pick up speed and strength going through the Bow Valley. This warm wind can cause extreme temperature fluctuations. Add dry air to the mix and you may see tree damage everywhere.
As the air warms up, but remains dry, the tips of tree branches start to dry out. Since the roots are frozen, they are unable to bring water into the tips to replenish the supply. This leaves the tips starved of moisture, which causes them to die. This condition is known as “tip kill” or “die back”. Common signs are dry twigs and discolored evergreen needles. The damage done can be extensive enough to kill smaller plants. Creating wind breaks or covering plants with mulch are effective options for preventing this kind of damage.
Calgary landscaping professionals dread false spring. When the warm Chinook winds stay around longer than normal, it begins to warm the ground. The warm ground can bring trees out of dormancy too early. The sap flows and the tree begins spring growth. When the winter winds return, the freezing temperatures can cause severe damage to the new growth that won’t go away with the approach of real spring.
Another cause of false spring is sun scald. Snow is on the ground and the sun is bright in the sky. As the sun’s rays reflect off the snow, it can cause tree tissues on the south side to start thawing. Then, when the sun goes down, the thawed tissues refreeze. This continual freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw cycle can cause the tree’s bark to split. This can damage inner tissues and even kill the tree. If you notice a split limb or trunk, wrap it to prevent further damage.
Non-hibernating animals like deer and rabbits are another challenge for Calgary landscaping professionals. They will eat tree bark during winter, plus pillage your perennials and shrubs. This can cause exposure of the tender inner tissues of the tree. Placing wire fencing around the base of the tree is an effective option for preventing this kind of damage.
Plants along sidewalks and near parking areas are vulnerable to any DE-icing agents you put down. Use those DE-icing materials sparingly and only where necessary. Excess use can cause damage and even kill smaller trees and plants.
If you need help with your winter tree care or want a four-season land maintenance company, call us here at Mirage Landscaping. We have been proudly serving the Calgary area for three generations with landscape services and snow removal.