Although your trees seem to be in a state of hibernation, exposure to wintery elements can cause major stress. We need to try to minimize the stress through helping your trees survive the cold months. If you take care of your trees in the winter, you'll be rewarded in the spring. Here's what you need to do to relieve your stressed trees:
Mulch it! Place organic mulch under your tree in the fall or early winter to help retain water and reduce temperature extremes. A thin layer of mulch will act like a their winter coat giving the tree's roots a little extra winter protection.
Water it! Give your trees a drink of water. Winter droughts require watering as much as summer droughts. If temperatures permit, an occasional watering during the winter on young trees can be a life saver. But be sure to water only when soil and trees are cool but not frozen.
Prune it! Without their leaves, the trees are in prime pruning condition. Winter is actually one of the best times to prune since the trees have no leaves. Just make sure to limit pruning to deadwood and poorly placed branches. This way, you'll save as many living branches as possible.
Wrap it! Wrap the base of the trees with burlap or a hard, plastic guard or a metal hardware cloth. This will guard the trees against extreme temperatures drops, mechanical injuries from plows or snow blowers and shovels, and even from animals or critters chewing and rubbing on the base of the tree. Just remember to remove the wraps and guards in the spring to prevent damage when the tree begins to grow.