This winter, protect your evergreens

Just because summer is long gone, that does not mean your landscape plants are past the point of needing moisture. Especially for trees and shrubs still recovering from this past summer’s drought, dryness can be a problem right through fall and into winter.

Evergreens in particular are susceptible to damage from moisture loss from both dry soil and the drying effects of winter winds. You can protect them from wind damage by erecting a screen of burlap, shade cloth, or similar material stapled to wood stakes. Another way is to spray them with an antidesiccant product in late fall.

Antidesiccant (or antitranspirant) sprays help prevent evergreen trees and shrubs from losing moisture in winter by coating their leaves with a clear film that does not interfere with plant growth, photosynthesis, or other natural processes. These products are available at your local nursery or garden centers in liquid concentrate or ready-to-use spray form and should be applied when the temperature is above freezing. They may be applied to both both broad-leaved and narrow-leaved evergreens.

Continue to water your evergreens as often as once a week in the absence of rainfall as long as the air temperature is above freezing. This is especially important for trees and shrubs that were just planted earlier this fall, or those that were moved from one location in your yard to another. Don’t water when it’s below freezing, however, because the formation of ice can damage trees and shrubs.

Spread mulch around trees and shrubs if you haven’t already done so – or if the mulch you put down earlier needs replenishing.

Evergreens not only provide the beauty of year-round greenery in our yards, but they can also represent a substantial financial investment, so they are well worth the effort to protect them from winter damage.