Protecting your Shrubs and Trees from Winter Burn
Laura Peterson, Certified Arborist
I cannot begin to guess what this winter is going to bring; 2 feet of snow covering the ground until March, below zero with high winds and no snow until January or mild 40 degree days with sporadic snowfall and 2 inches of ice covering everything in March. Whatever conditions occur this winter it is bound to be dry for the evergreens. Soil moisture is a factor, but the almost constant winds from November through February are extremely drying and damaging to evergreens.
Drying Winter Harms Trees
Native evergreen trees and shrubs are well adapted to our winters, but the majority of plants in landscapes are not native and don’t have the resources to combat the drying winds.
Plants lose moisture through pores in the leaves. If there is not sufficient soil moisture, this water loss can cause them to ‘Burn’ and turn brown and, if severe enough, can even kill smaller or stressed plants. There are a couple of ways to reduce this water loss in evergreens. We offer Anti-Desiccant sprays that will provide a thin protective layer over the leaves to prevent water loss. Supplemental watering during dry periods (when soil is not frozen) can also help to get evergreens through the winter.
Which shrubs and trees are most vulnerable?
Some varieties that are more susceptible even in more protected locations include:
Boxwood (all varieties)
Rhododendron & Azalea
Juniper (all varieties)Yews
Magnolia (evergreen types)
If you have evergreens in your yard please call today and we will evaluate your need for Anti-Desiccant sprays. Most evergreens will suffer some amount of dieback if planted in an exposed location and unprotected from the drying winds.