Get Your Trees & Shrubs Ready for Winter
Winter is Coming!
Harsh winds and sun take responsibility for most of the injuries that your landscaping plants sustain over the Winter. The elements cause exceptional damage to broadleaf evergreens such as rhododendrons, hollies, mountain laurel and boxwood. As evergreens, these plants constantly lose moisture through their leaves. Since the ground is frozen, the water in the soil becomes unavailable, and they cannot replenish their supply easily. Drying Winter winds and bright, reflecting sun only serve to compound the problem. Fortunately, we can try a number of methods to prevent this!
Get Your Trees and Shrubs Ready for Winter
- Make certain that your plants have plenty of water before the ground freezes, as plants with a water deficit expose themselves to a higher risk of winter injury. Continue to water plants until the first freeze, but water slowly so that the ground does not become saturated. This can lead lead to ice heave and root damage.
- Spread a heavy mulch of shredded bark or leaves, pine needles or straw around the plant to a depth of 2-3 inches. This helps preserve moisture in the soil and to keep the soil warmer. Thus, ice and frost do not damage delicate roots as easily.
Wrapping and Prepping
- To reduce the effects of the winds, encircle trees and shrubs with burlap or other breathable fabric. Start with a thin wrapping at the base of the plant, then gradually increase the thickness farther away from the stem. Install stakes in the ground around your plant roughly 12-18 inches away from the base. Do not, however, directly wrap plants in plastic or tarps that would restrict air flow completely, such as around the trunk, or the plants may smother.
- By wrapping, this not only breaks the force of winds, but also shades the plants from sun. Note that wrapping does not provide any insulation for your plants, it simply directs harsh winds away from them like a screen.
- Another option to consider is Wilt Stop® by Bonide. It is sprayed on the plant to reduce the loss of moisture caused by wind and sun. Wilt Stop® protects plants from drying out, drought, wind burn, sunscald, Winter kill, transplant shock, and even salt damage. (It is also great for year round use on evergreens, deciduous trees, roses, shrubs, transplants, veggies and fruits.) Main points:
- Keeps your greenery fresh longer.
- Extends the life of cut evergreens, wreaths, and trees.
- Seals in moisture and helps prevent needle drop.
- All natural and non-toxic.
- Remember, younger plants, saplings,and newly planted shrubs are more subject to winter damage, so take special care of these.
- Plant as early as possible so that they have more time to establish before Winter sets in, and keep a close eye on them to minimize any storm damage throughout the season.
- After a heavy storm, inspect your trees and shrubs for damage. If boughs or branches break, prune them away immediately so that they do not continue to tear and cause more injury to the plant. Restrict your routine pruning to late Winter at the earliest, though early Spring should be your target time. If you decide to prune in Fall or Winter, you will expose your plant to a higher risk of water loss throughout the cold season.
- Use a soft broom to brush off a heavy accumulation of snow if needed, but do not try to melt away any accumulated ice or frost, as the temperature change can damage the plants.
With good preparation and conscientious care, your trees and shrubs can withstand even the cruelest of Winter cold and storms. They’ll be bursting into new Spring growth before you know it!
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to speak to any of our expert in-store team members for their advice.
We also provide gardening services! Take a look at our list of services available on our website.
As always, check our Sales Flyer to see how you can save this season on tree and shrub maintenance.