Winter Storms, Summer Heatwaves in Edmonton: How to Care for Your Damaged Tree

Reading time: 5 minutes

Edmonton throws some wild weather our way—brutal winters with a frosty grip and scorching summer heatwaves. Our trees go through a lot! So, how do we keep these leafy legends thriving through it all? The answer is proper tree health care!

Let's discuss how you can become the ultimate tree whisperer, no matter the season.

Snow covered tree next to a tree without any snow
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Why We Must Protect Edmonton's Urban Forest

Trees are the ultimate neighbourhood buddies. They clean our air by filtering out pollutants, cool us down in the summer with shade, and even help to reduce stormwater runoff.

According to the City of Edmonton, the city’s urban forest removes over 26,000 tonnes of air pollutants every year—that's like taking 22,000 cars off the road! They also add beauty to our city and increase property values.

If you’re thinking of adding a tree to your yard, you will be adding to Edmonton’s urban forest. Fall is the best time for tree planting, enabling trees to establish roots before the frosty season.

Note to Remember: All public trees in Edmonton are protected by bylaws. This means you can't prune, plant, or remove them without permission from the city. If you're unsure if a tree is on public property, the city has a handy guide to help you figure it out.

Tree covered with snow
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Winter Woes: Helping Your Trees After a Storm

Imagine our Edmonton trees battling a classic Alberta blizzard—it’s not a pretty sight. A winter storm inevitably leaves them with a few bumps and bruises, like a split branch, cracks in their bark, or disturbed soil around the base.

Your trees might face frost damage after a storm. Ever imagine tiny ice crystals forming inside a popsicle? That's what frost damage is like for trees. It can cause splits and unusual bumps on the bark. Plus, heavy snow and ice build-up can weigh down branches like overstuffed stockings, causing them to break or become stressed.

Here's what you can do to help your damaged trees:

Get Your Sherlock On

Give your tree a good once-over after a storm. Look for any signs of damage, like cracks, loose branches, or disturbed soil. Droopy branches, cracks, scabs, discoloured bark patches, wilting or dropping leaves and needles, and reddish-brown patches, i.e., dieback, are all signs your tree is struggling.

Get Creative in Your Care

Edmonton winters can be brutal on young trees. To help them survive the frosty grip, consider wrapping the trunk with burlap in late fall. This will insulate the tender bark and protect it from sunscald, which can happen when the sun reflects off snow and heats one side of the tree.

Stay Safe

If there are any broken branches hanging precariously, it's best to call in a professional. Our ISA-certified arborist can offer emergency tree care. We’re experts at safely removing debris and assessing any damage.

We can guide you on how to ensure proper tree health care and if you need tree pruning. Ideally, you should get your trees pruned in the fall so they can heal before the cold hits.

Green Drop worker watering a tree showing thumbs up

Scorching Summers: Keeping Your Trees Hydrated When the Heat is On

Edmonton's summers with extreme heat and dryness can stress trees in several ways, including increased water loss, heat stress (direct damage to the tree tissue, making it susceptible to pests), and drought stress. Extended dry, scorching spells can deplete soil moisture, which can lead to stunted tree growth.

Overall, the combination of heat and dryness in Edmonton's summers can have a significant impact on the city's trees. Here’s how you can tackle the damage:

Deep Soak Your Leafy Giants

Forget the daily sprinkler show. Trees need a slow and deep watering once or twice a week, right down at the roots. A good soak helps the water reach where it counts, unlike a sprinkler that just evaporates.

Here in Edmonton, the early morning or evening hours are best for watering to avoid losing water to daytime heat.

Mulch Magic

A layer of mulch around your tree's base is a summer lifesaver. It helps retain moisture in the soil by up to 50%, keeps those pesky weeds at bay, and even regulates soil temperature.

Aim for a 2–3 inch layer of mulch, but keep it a few inches away from the trunk to avoid moisture build-up and potential pest problems.

Holes in a tree from pest infestation
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Winter Storms & Summer Heatwaves Invite the Tree Troublemakers

Trees under stress from things like drought or damage are more susceptible to pests and diseases. Common pests that target damaged trees include chewing insects like the Ash Leaf Cone Roller, Satin Moth, Yellow-headed Spruce Sawfly, and Mites.

Elm Scale, Oystershell Scale, Pine Needle Scale, and Aphids can pierce the damaged tree and feed on its nutrients. Bronze Birch Borer and Ash Bark Beetle can operate stealthily and burrow under the bark.

Edmonton trees are also susceptible to these diseases:

  • Dutch Elm Disease: Look for rapid wilting, yellow leaves, and struggling branches.
  • Oak Wilt: A vascular disease of oak trees that manifests as a fungus that grows on the outer sapwood of oak trees.
  • Fire Blight: New shoots turn black and die back.
  • Black Knot Fungus: Black, wart-like growths during dormancy.
  • Bronze Leaf Disease: Leaves turn bronze between veins.

If you spot any of these pests and diseases on your trees, don't despair! Remember, early detection is key. Give Green Drop a call, and our ISA-certified arborists can help you determine the best course of action to keep your trees healthy and offer disease and pest control solutions.

Green Drop Arborist doing a resistograph on a maple tree to check for decay

Keeping Pests & Diseases at Bay

Here's how you can keep these creepy crawlies and nasty fungi in check:

Be Observant

Keep an eye on your trees for any signs of trouble. Look for unusual leaf patterns, discolouration, holes in leaves, or insects crawling around. Early detection is key! Even if you can’t figure out which disease it is, we have a plant disease diagnostic lab to determine which disease plagues your tree and provide the best solution to combat it.

Natural Solutions First

For minor pest problems, there are often natural solutions you can try. A blast of water from the hose can dislodge aphids, for example. For some diseases, there are safe and effective neem oil sprays available.

Call in the Cavalry

If you're unsure what you're dealing with or the problem seems more serious, it's always best to call a professional. Our ISA-certified arborists can diagnose the issue and recommend the safest and most effective treatment plan for your tree.

With a little care from you and some expert help from us, we can keep your Edmonton trees strong and healthy for generations to come.

Take a look at our tree care packages right here and get an estimate to give your trees the professional TLC they deserve!

We offer tree health care services in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg.

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