Protect Evergreen Trees and Shrubs from Cold Weather Damage
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Pro Home Manager by Rubi Fingeret
If you live in a cold winter region, you probably already know what cold weather can do to your evergreens. Winter sun, wind, and frigid temperatures can desiccate evergreen foliage, damage bark, and injure or kill branches. Snow and ice can break limbs and take down healthy whole trees. There are some things you can do to protect your evergreens in winter.

• Keep Watering: Evergreens need watering even after gardening season ends. Continue to thoroughly water them throughout the fall until the ground freezes. Since evergreens don’t lose their leaves in winter, they continue to lose moisture and require a healthy moisture level before ground freezing prevents their roots from drawing additional water. If they’re not adequately hydrated before the winter, the drying effects of sun and wind can cause leaves and needles to turn brown.

• It’s a Wrap: While most evergreens do not need to be wrapped, you should consider wrapping newly planted evergreens and certain more sensitive evergreens, such as the dwarf Alberta spruce, to protect them from winter sun and wind. Hardware stores sell tree wrapping made from burlap netting that can be wrapped around the branches. Or you can build an open wind-break shelter to protect the trees from the sun and wind while retaining the look of your landscaping. A three-sided shelter can be constructed by stretching and securing burlap over stakes hammered into the ground.

• Road Salt a Killer: Trees near the road may be damaged by road salt. Wrap them with a double layer of burlap.

• Anti-Desiccant Sprays Can Help: Protect evergreens such as boxwood hedges and laurels, from the drying effects of winter sun and wind with an anti-desiccant or anti-drying spray which coats foliage with a protective waxy film. Be sure to spray during the late fall before the ground freezes.

• Heavy Snow and Ice Can Break Limbs: Prevent breakage of evergreen branches due to accumulated ice and snow by wrapping branches with heavy string or mesh covers sold for this purpose. When you use tree wraps, their limbs are pulled in toward their trunks and supported, so that they won't snap under the strain of snow or ice loads.


12/1/2011

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