Winter care of trees and shrubs is an important consideration in cold regions. Shade trees, ornamental shrubs and evergreens are the biggest plant investments you’ll make for your garden.
If you live in a cold-weather zone, you know that winter can be hard on garden plants. Here are tips for protecting your valuable woody plants.
Watering: Good winter care starts with thorough watering in the fall. When the garden season draws to a close, it is tempting to just forget about your plants.
However you should continue to water all woody plants – especially newly planted trees and shrubs and all evergreens in the fall.
Water them well until the ground freezes, and make sure you water adequately through a dry fall.These plants need the equivalent of one inch of rain per week. (In a wet fall, you can relax.)
Evergreens and broadleaf evergreens don’t lose their leaves, so they need a good store of moisture going into winter because they continue to transpire (give off water vapor) through the cold months.
Most winter damage to evergreens doesn’t actually come from cold, but from the drying effects of late winter sun and wind. With the soil frozen hard, plant roots can’t take up water to make up for moisture losses from transpiration and, as a result, dehydration can cause browning or burning of foliage.
Personally, when considering winter care of trees and shrubs, I don’t go crazy with burlap wrap.
It’s extra work and doesn’t look great.
After all, the whole point of evergreens is to give you something green that’s attractive through the winter. Contrary to popular belief, most established evergreens hardy in your region don’t need to be wrapped.
However, as with many things in gardening, there are exceptions. Some evergreens, such as dwarf Alberta spruce, are prone to winter-burn, so they should be covered, as should newly planted evergreens. New plants haven’t had time grow extensive roots that help them take up enough moisture to prevent excessive water losses.