temperatures, frost or dry conditions cause winter injury. The results
of these conditions vary from leaf burn to the death of the entire
plant. If the temperature drops below a plant's ability to tolerate it,
this is known as "low temperature injury". Generally this occurs in
plants which are not suited for the climate. Frost cracks or sunscald
occurs when temperatures drop after the bark has warmed up. Symptoms of
low temperature injury include branch or stem die-back, black or brown
leaves, or splitting of the bark.
from frost occurs during the late fall or early spring when plants are
growing. If temperatures drop near or below freezing, frost injury will
occur. Symptoms of frost injury include brown to black flowers, fruit
or leaves. Dry conditions create what is known as "winter burn". This
occurs when the leaves of the plant continue to lose moisture, which is
not replaced. Generally, plants exposed to the winter wind are more
likely to have this kind of damage.
these are the three most common injuries in winter, there are other
problems that can occur. If there is a heavy snowfall or icy
conditions, such as freezing rain, these can cause limbs to break.
Also, food is scarce during the winter months for such animals as deer,
mice and rabbits. They will seek out leaves, bud and bark to supplement
their winter diets.
lessen the chances of winter injury, choose shrubs and trees that are
hardy for the climate. Check with your local nursery for more
information and recommendations for what to plant. Ensure the planting
area offers excellent drainage when choosing your location. Give all
the trees and shrubs a good soaking before the soil freezes in the fall
to ensure they have sufficient moisture for the winter months. Use some
sort of windbreak for trees and shrubs in exposed areas and provide
nutrients, water and protection against stress to ensure your plants
are more resistant to winter injury.