With winter approaching, it’s important to think about taking some winter evergreen protection measures in your backyard.
Trees and shrubs suffer damage during the cold weather months from desiccation, another way of saying “drying out”. We’ve also seen this phenomenon referred to as “winter burn”.
Frozen ground prevents plants from taking water from the soil, which means they need to use up all the water they’ve stored in their stems and leaves. This is damaging for plants, especially evergreen shrubs and trees that don’t drop their leaves in the winter.
Winter Evergreen Protection
By winterizing your evergreens – including broadleaf plants such as magnolia, hollies, skip laurels and boxwoods – you can help them preserve moisture and keep them save from the elements.
One of the ways to protect your evergreens is by constructing wind blocks. Typically made from wooden stakes and a burlap barrier, these structures help reduce your plants’ exposure to high winds.
But these barriers can only do so much. A wax-based anti-desiccant spray can provide evergreen foliage with a protective coating, reducing the amount of water that escapes from the plant. They are typically biodegradable, and will gradually wash away after a few months and disappear in time for spring.
If you live somewhere with a harsh winter, it’s good practice to apply an anti-desiccant spray twice each winter: once in November or December, and again in February. In places with more moderate winters, your plants should only need a single application in December or January.
Some tips for using an anti-desiccant:
- Wait for decent weather. Anti-desiccants are best applied when temperatures are between 40 and 50, at a time when the forecast doesn’t call for precipitation. Your foliage needs to be dry when you apply it, and the spray needs time to dry.
- If you spray too early, you can damage conifer trees. Wait until at least December, when these plants have gone dormant.
- Spray the plant completely, as evergreens lose water from the top and bottom of the leaves.
Anti-desiccants have other uses beyond winter evergreen protection:
- Spray it on a pumpkin to help your jack o’lantern last longer.
- At Christmastime, an anti-desiccant on your tree can keep it from drying out too quickly.
- Anti-desiccant spray can help you protect tender plant bulbs before storing them.
- If you need to transplant a shrub in the middle of the summer, an anti-desiccant can help it hold moisture until it develops new roots.
If you’re concerned about winter evergreen protection for your plants, Willow Tree and Landscape Service is ready to help.
Winter protection is just one aspect of our plant health care services. We also:
- Diagnosis and treat diseases and insect infestations in trees and shrubs, including protection against the Emerald Ash Borer.
- Provide tick and deer control.
- Fertilize shrubs and trees.
- Offer free quotes on plant health care programs, and free property evaluations by our team of ISA-certified arborists.
For more than 30 years, we’ve been providing plant health care, tree removal and trimming and other landscaping services to customers in Philadelphia and Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania, as well as Princeton and Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can get your evergreens ready for winter.