Saturday, October 24, 2015

Winterizing Trees & Shrubs

Most shrubs and trees require no special preparation for winter, aside from making sure they are watered and old flower heads are removed.

Trees with smooth bark will benefit from tree wrap. Starting at the base of the tree, wrap the trunk to the lowest branch, overlapping each layer by 1/3. Secure at the top with duct tape or twine. Remove the tree wrap by the end of April.

Broadleaf evergreens, such as Holly and Rhododendron, can be sprayed with Wilt Pruf to prevent dissecation. Apply late in the season while temperatures are still above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You can reapply mid-winter if there is a brief warm spell. Wilt Pruf can also by sprayed on any plant, with or without leaves, that is in a very windy location. Use with caution on plants with very fine needles (Hemlock, Arborvitae, Juniper); follow the product’s instructions on the label.

Plants sensitive to wind or sunburn can also be wrapped with burlap. Wrap in late fall and secure with twine or staples. Burlap can also be used to protect plants from deer and rabbits.

A-frame shrub protectors can be placed over plants that are under the drip line of your roof to protect them from snow or ice damage. They will also provide some protection from wind and sun.

Spray-on deer and rabbit repellants can be applied mid- to late fall. Follow the product’s instructions on the label for effective coverage.

A small group of shrubs require special winter care: Buddleia (Butterfly Bush), Caryopteris, Vitex (Chaste Tree), Scotch Broom, Big Leaf Hydrangeas (pink or blue flowering varieties). After the leaves have fallen from these plants, apply 12–18” at this time. Caryopteris, Scotch Broom and Hydrangeas can be cut back to green growth in the spring. The mulch should be removed in spring as the temperature warms.

The following plants are slow to start growing in the spring, so a little patience is required: Butterfly Bush, Caryopteris, Chaste Tree, Ornamental Grasses, Hardy Hibiscus.

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