CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — With the “Farmer’s Almanac” predicting a major winter, the International Society of Arboriculture recommends several steps for people in the to protect their trees from weather stress and injury.

ISA recommends the following:

  1. Mulch — Add a thin, protective layer of organic mulch around your tree in the fall. This will help retain water and reduce stress from temperature extremes.
  2. Water — Give your trees a drink. Winter droughts require watering as much as summer droughts. Occasional watering during the winter on young trees is recommended, but be sure to water only when soil and trees are cool — not frozen.
  3. Prune — Winter is one of the best times to prune trees. It is easier to see the structure of trees without their leaves. But limit pruning to dead wood and poorly placed branches in order to save as many living branches as possible.
  4. Prevent injury — Heavy ice and snow accumulation can split or break branches, and animals also cause injury by chewing or rubbing trees. Protect young trees by wrapping the base in a plastic guard or a metal hardware cloth.

The group suggests homeowners review their insurance policy to know what to do and what is covered in the event of tree failure on their property.