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Top 3 Causes of Damage to Trees and Shrubs in Winter

April 26, 2023
Top 3 Causes of Damage to Trees and Shrubs in Winter
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The winter in the Midwest can wreak havoc on landscapes, including trees and shrubs. Unpredictable weather that sometimes hits multiple extremes, strong winds, low temperatures, and lots of snow. As a commercial property manager, you want to do your best to maintain your landscape’s integrity, and of course, save money by avoiding as much winter damage as possible. The good news is that you can take measures to protect the plants on your commercial from damage. Below, we’ll outline the leading causes of damage to trees and shrubs in the winter, so you can take action and protect your landscape to the best of your ability.

Low Temperatures

Damage Trees and Shrubs in Winter

As you would imagine, extremely low and freezing temperatures are hell on plants. If the soil around a shrub or tree freezes over, it will likely prevent that plant from absorbing water. However, if you act proactively and thoroughly water your plants in the fall season, you’ll make sure your plants’ roots have an ample supply of water for the upcoming cold temperatures. Additionally, you can apply a thick layer of mulch around your plants to create some natural insulation, which may help prevent the soil around the roots from freezing in some instances.

Snow Accumulation

Treeas and Shrubs Winter Damage

Snow may seem relatively innocuous in some circumstances. Still, if snow accumulates in one spot in large enough amounts - which it can do shockingly quickly - it can cause significant damage to your trees. The weight of accumulated snow is known to cause branches to crack and break, and in some instances, it can smother shrubs. If your property tends to get a lot of snow, it would be wise to proactively develop a plan based on where snow typically accumulates the most and protect your plants in that area. For example, if snow tends to slide off the roof of a part of your property and pile up, or if there is an area where snowplows tend to build up piles, you can install protection around the plants in that area to keep them safe from heavy, suffocating snow.

Strong Wind

Strong Wind Damage to Trees and Shrubs in Winter

The wind is another winter element that can be more damaging to your plants than you may realize. Harsh winter winds can easily damage and even destroy vulnerable shrubs and trees. As with the other damaging elements of winter, it’s prudent to be proactive against wind and install protection in areas where your plants may be the most at risk.


As you can see, winning the battle in your commercial garden or landscape against winter comes down to planning and taking action before the worst winter events. Understanding exactly what to do in these cases requires a skilled professional with experience in these situations.

To protect plants from winter damage on your commercial property, seek the services of experts such as Earth Development. We’ll develop and implement a comprehensive plan for your property so your shrubs, trees, and other vulnerable plants are most protected when the harshest aspects of winter come to bear. Contact us today to find out how we can help your landscape survive winter unscathed.

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
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