Severe winter cold rarely damages trees in Irish forests. However, late spring and early summer frost can be detrimental when the buds start to burst. Frost damaged buds will appear brown in colour and can die off. The best prevention is to plant frost-resistant tree species.
Do not plant bare-rooted and potted trees during very cold weather when the ground is frozen or air temperatures are below zero. The main reason for this is that the trees’ roots break easily if they are moved while frozen. This results in poor growth in the spring and the tree will simply die if the damage is bad.
In addition, trees planted into frozen ground cannot be firmed in properly and may 'rise out' of the soil as a result of frost lift exposing the roots to the air causing death.
If you have trees ready to plant, store them in a cool outbuilding under cover and out of direct sunlight. Under normal conditions, trees should not be stored for more than ten days but this period can be extended in very cold weather. Do not move the bags of trees when frozen as roots can be easily damaged.
Trees planted before the freezing weather into soft ground should be fine. However when the soil thaws, it should be firmed again around the trees to ensure they are well anchored.