Desiccation is real and it’s becoming a serious factor that is killing our trees across the front range.
Winter desiccation is when the amount of water a tree loses trough transpiration is greater than the amount of water the roots are up taking. Conifer species are very prone to this along the front range. Conifers continue to transpire “lose water” during dormant season and as we all know in the greater Denver area we can experience long dry spells in the winter where our trees are not getting enough water. Trees that are under-watered and lack beneficial nutrients in the soil become weakened, and the next thing you know a flash freeze occurs.
Trees can withstand very low temperatures if the tree is watered correctly and are growing in a beautiful microbiome of soil packed with bacteria, fungi, single celled protozoa, and microscopic nematodes. Let’s be honest now, most of the time trees are left unwatered in the winter and most soils in the area are struggling. This is why it’s important to entertain the idea of hiring a tree service to help.
Often, tree service companies overlook, don’t know, or simply don’t care that winter desiccation can be managed by spraying an Anti-Transpirant product on them to protect them. Anti-Transpirant is designed to coat the plant with a thin layer of protective film which aids in suppressing transpiration. The University of Massachusetts Amherst has a great Q&A on winter desiccation. Click here to check it out at https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact sheets/protecting-evergreens-in-winter-qa
Great Western Tree Care has been spraying anti-Transpirant products for three tears and we have seen really good results. Our arborists have researched the issue extensively, had multiple conversations with CSU extension and other arborists in the area. The leading chemical supplier in the state “Helena Chemical” strongly backs the use of anti-Transpirant and helped us come up with plan to decrease winter desiccation in our conifer trees across the front range.
Thank you, Helena Chemical, for all you do. Helena Agri-Enterprises
Recommended by the manufacturer it’s important to apply two separate sprays. One during October/November, and a second during January/February. However, just one spray in November/December can be effective as well for our early flash freezes. The way it was worded to me by the manufacture is, “two sprays is better than one, but one spray is better than none.”
Let us know if we can help with any tree care!
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