Winter Tips for Tree and Shrub healthcare

Caring for plants during the winter requires some special attention, as the colder temperatures, reduced sunlight, and potential frost can affect their well-being. North Carolina typically sees a mild winter regarding temps and winter weather. Advance Tree & Shrub is your best choice to help keep your trees and shrubs thriving throughout each season. We put together a few winter plant healthcare tips to guide you through winter months. And, as always, when in doubt just contact us! We will be glad to take a look at your concerns and address them accordingly.  (Click here to contact us!)

Tips on how to best keep your trees and shrubs safe during winter months:

Protect the root zone:

Apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of your trees and shrubs, extending it to the drip line, to insulate the soil. This helps to regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, and protect plant roots from freezing. 


Be mindful of your plants’ water needs during the winter. While they generally require less water in the dormant season, it’s essential to ensure they don’t dry out completely. Give trees and shrubs a deep watering before the ground freezes. This helps to ensure they have adequate moisture to sustain them through the winter. Key to remember: Water deeply (above freezing temps only) but less frequently.

Protect from Frost:

If frost is expected, cover vulnerable plants with blankets, burlap, or frost cloth in the evening. Remove the covers during the day to allow sunlight in and prevent overheating.

Young or fragile trees may benefit from wrapping their trunks with burlap or tree wrap to protect them from temperature fluctuations and potential sunscald. For sensitive or newly planted shrubs, consider wrapping them in burlap or creating a burlap screen to provide extra protection from winter winds.

Avoid Salt Damage:

If you use salt on driveways and walkways to melt ice, be cautious about its impact on nearby plants. Salt can damage plant roots and soil structure. Try to use alternatives like sand or calcium magnesium acetate.


Prune deciduous trees and shrubs during late fall or early winter when they are dormant. This helps shape the plant, removes dead or diseased branches, and stimulates healthy growth when spring arrives. (psst…we offer our clients this service!)

While light pruning to remove dead or damaged branches is acceptable, avoid heavy pruning during the winter. Pruning stimulates new growth, which is more vulnerable to cold temperatures. 

Monitor for Pests:

Check your trees and shrubs for pests regularly, as some pests thrive in winter conditions.

Inspect the bark, under sides of leaves and branches for signs of overwintering insects and eggs, some examples are scales, mites and whiteflies. Horticultural oil treatments are recommended for suppression of these pests during the dormant season. Contact us for these services – (919) 569-0555 or email us at

Rodent Protection:

In winter, rodents may chew on the bark of trees and shrubs, causing damage. Use tree guards or wrap the lower trunk with hardware cloth to protect against rodent activity.

Provide Wind Protection:

Wind can be damaging to plants, especially when combined with cold temperatures. Consider using barriers like burlap screens to protect plants from harsh winter winds. Create Windbreaks:

If your outdoor trees and shrubs are susceptible to strong winter winds, consider erecting temporary windbreaks. This could be burlap screens or snow fencing to reduce the impact of wind on plants.

Be Mindful of Ice and Snow Accumulation:

Being that we are located in North Carolina, we do not always get a significant amount of snow or ice it is still very important to be mindful of accumulation when we do get it. We suggest (when it is safe for you and at a reachable height for you) to shake off heavy snow from the branches of trees and shrubs to prevent breakage. Ice accumulation can also weigh down branches, so gently remove it if possible without causing damage. You can use a broom to gently brush heavy snow off the branches of trees and shrubs. This prevents breakage and damage due to the weight of the snow. Again, only do this when it is safe for you – do not risk your safety or health for this.

Anti-Desiccant Spray:

Consider applying an anti-desiccant spray to evergreen trees and shrubs. This helps reduce water loss through the leaves and can prevent winter burn.

Snow accumulation can become too heavy for branches.
Be cautious using salt to de-ice sidewalks and driveways, it can damage plant roots & structures.
Seasonal pruning helps shape the plant, removes dead or diseased branches, and stimulates healthy growth when spring arrives.
By taking these specific measures, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your outdoor trees and shrubs during the winter months. If you have any questions, please give our office a call or email our Arborist for more information.