I planted a peach tree last spring – it came through the summer very nicely (we even had some fruit!) and I want to make sure I am properly preparing it for winter. I have wrapped the trunk using plastic tree guards and mulched it; do I need to wrap the branches?
The plastic tree guards help prevent sunscald that would cause the tree trunk bark to crack. This happens most often in the spring, when the sun warms the bark up during the day and cells in that area die as the temperature falls at night. The tree guards, white latex paint or a burlap wrap help reflect the light to prevent this temperature fluctuation.
There is no need to wrap the tree branches. Tree guards also help protect trees from mice and rabbit damage – these animals might feed on the tender bark in the winter. For this reason, you should also make sure that any mulch you have applied around the tree is well back from the trunk. Lastly, make sure that your tree is well watered before the ground freezes. If you have selected a hardy variety, prune carefully while the tree is dormant and monitor for diseases.