Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > November 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - PROTECTING EVERGREENS

IN THE DIRT with DOUG - PROTECTING EVERGREENS

It is never too early to put together you’re game plan for taking care of our plants for the winter. 
In order to minimize winter damage to our evergreens I need to stress the importance to never letting our plants go into a cold period dry.  Without a doubt, in my estimation, letting plants go dry is the leading cause of plant damage to our evergreens.  Let’s look at things from the perspective of shrubs and trees.  Evergreens have a unique challenge in the winter.  Though they don’t actively grow, they still hold some or all of their foliage through the winter.  This means they contend with moisture loss.  Moisture escapes from evergreens when the sun shines on them or when it is windy.  This is an otherwise normal process called transpiration.  When our evergreens are dry or if the ground is frozen, plant’s roots are unable to deliver water up the shrub or tree to replace this lost moisture, resulting in brown foliage. 
                What’s a gardener to do?  I think it is twofold.  First, it is all about RIGHT PLANT, RIGHT LOCATION.  I stress this point numerous times in my blogs throughout the year.  It is so important to know the growing characteristics of every plant in order to plant it in the best location possible.  If you learn the importance of right plant, right location, then it will lessen future plant issues.  Some of our beloved evergreens, such as boxwoods, rhododendrons, camellias, etc. should be planted in sheltered locations that do not face south or west.  These plants like some shade, such as under a canopy of trees or near the foundation of a building in order to minimize cold, windburn damage in the winter. 
                Secondly, once we get into winter and cold temperatures, many gardeners resort to spraying evergreens with Wilt-Pruf.  Wilt-Pruf works to prevent leaves and needles from drying out and dropping.  Wilt-Pruf acts like sunscreen for our plants.  Wilt-Pruf forms a long lasting protective coating on the leaves which holds in moisture on plant foliage reducing water loss during the winter.   Also, it helps our evergreens, like boxwoods, rhododendrons, camellias, and others from sunburn.
                Lastly, some gardeners will use burlap to make a wind barrier for vulnerable plants that will help to prevent drying out from the winter winds.  I have found that the best way to use burlap is to erect a burlap “screen” on the sides of the plant that receives the prevailing wind or sun.  this can easily be done with a pair of wooden stakes.  Situate your barrier at least a foot away from the edge of the plant.  The one downside to using burlap is that it doesn’t protect our plants from snow and ice accumulation.
                                                                                                HAPPY GARDENING!
Posted: 11/16/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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