As we have been driving around town, we have noticed MANY spruce trees that have suffered winter damage. Though we see other trees and shrubs that have incurred damage, the spruce have our attention. The predominant reasons that spruce trees sustain damage is from winterburn, snow and ice, and salt. However, our gypsy moth friends helped facilitate damage after their infestation of the region last year. The spruce is an easy target for the gypsy moth when they run out of their preferred fare of oak.
Winterburn occurs when needles on the spruce dry out and die. This happens because there wasn't enough water or the water had frozen in the root system. Fluctuations in temperature also hurt the needles and cause them to dry out further. When the weather turns warmer during winter, the tree starts photosynthesis and uses the water that has been stored in the plant. With the ground frozen there is no water for the plant to absorb from the root system, causing further drying of the needles.
Snow and ice damage occurs on all trees when the tree's structure is not suitable to withstand the snow and ice. Heavy or wet snow causes more damage when trees and shrubs have more tightly spaced branches or branches that are at angles less than ninety degrees. Trees and shrubs planted close to structures also suffer greater risk for damage due to the melting snow from the rooftop.
All trees, shrubs, and perennials that planted close to roadways and driveways can suffer salt damage. The tree, shrub, or plant can be sprayed with the salt from clearing the roadway causing browning of the leaves. When salt leaches into the root system, the plant absorbs the water and also the salt which then can damage or kill the plant due to the toxicity of the salt.
We are happy to meet or call you to discuss any concerns or questions you have about your own trees and how to mitigate or repair damage and help ready you for spring.
We can be reached at (508) 285-TREE or firstname.lastname@example.org.