Root growth of trees and shrubs does not match the above-ground activity. On the contrary, many Univ.s extension services and good books reveal that tree roots do the major part of their growth and expansion in winter using the reserves from the above-ground parts accumulated in summer/spring.
Soil scientists like Dr. Christine Jones maintain that the vital boost for soil life/ microbial activity are the plant root exudates. Therefore, the best soil building strategy would be to grow plants. The more, the better. When there are more species together /polyculture/, the plants do better. Up to 16 species together were studied, including flowers, etc, that did best, when compared to 8, 4, 2, 1.
Besides the trees/shrubs' roots many crops and herbaceous plants would grow (and/or germinate) at low temperatures like the nitrogen-fixers: peas, broad beans; also: onions, garlic, rye that was pointed above, oat, many bulb flowers, like crocuses, snowdrops, etc. Seeds of others can be put in ground in the fall/winter for stratification.
So, for me the best winter fertilizing & soil building strategy is to plant trees/shrubs/seeds/bulbs.