The warm December weather is great for Calgarians driving to and from work or school and you might be spending more time outside but it might be confusing for the trees in your yard.

Aborist Matthew Davis with Adair Tree Care Ltd. says anytime the temperature starts to rise certain processes get triggered.

“They want to move moisture from the ground back up to the crown of the tree and depending on how it happens and when the cold weather comes that can cause problems for sure,” says Davis.

He says plants that grow in a temperate zone need a cold spell in the winter to help them prepare for spring.

“If we get cold temperatures followed by really warm temperatures that moisture can start to move back up into the canopy of the tree. If the temperature drops suddenly again then it can get stuck in the top of the tree and if that happens then the cells start to burst because there’s moisture there that freezes and causes bursting of cells and basically tissue damage to the tree.”

Davis says the best thing homeowners can do right now is to make sure trees and plants have moist soil.

 “I insisted on a lot of water.  It’s pretty expensive but this is a passion I have so it’s either spend it on the golf course or spend it watering my plants and  my trees,” says homeowner and avid gardener Judy Lowas. “It looks like it’s worked I don’t see anything that’s actually died.”

Lowas tries to do some mulching and she rakes leaves onto the garden beds to retain some of the moisture.

Davis says that’s a good idea because things like woodchips or straw will help hold the soil hold its moisture.

If you have evergreen trees Davis says it’s safe to water them.

He says it might be a good idea for anyone with a south facing front yard with deciduous trees to give them a drink too but Davis cautions to just water at the root system; he says spraying down the tree is not good at this time of year because we could experience a sudden freeze and the tree could sustain tissue damage.

Davis says this is also the best time of year to prune your trees because a tree that has dropped its leaves is dormant and you can’t spread insects or disease because those aren’t active.