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Helping Evergreens Survive The Winter

Posted by: Nick DiBenedetto on December 27, 2019

Winter can be pretty brutal here in the North Shore and greater Boston area and it cause injury on trees and shrubs in many ways.  If you didn’t take any precautions in the late fall, don’t despair.  It’s not too late to take some remedial action to limit any further damage.

Winds Can Be Devastating

The drying winds of winter can cause the edges of plants such as rhododendron, azalea, mountain laurel, and Andromeda to desiccate and brown.  This happens because the winds draw water out of the leaves, and it cannot be replaced because all the water in the ground is frozen.  Fortunately, there are products called anti-desiccants that can help reduce this damage.  They seal the leaf in a weather resistant coating that reduces the amount of water drawn out of the leaves, thus reducing the damage.

If you are noticing browning edges on your broadleaf evergreens, your plants may benefit from an anti-desiccant application even this late in the winter.  The product can be applied anytime it will be above freezing long enough for the product to dry and not freeze on the leaf surfaces. 

Snow And Ice Damage

Another problem facing shrubs, especially evergreens around the foundation, is snow and ice buildup.  Too much weight on the shrubs can at a minimum cause them to splay open and at worse to break.  The large leaf surface of rhododendrons can hold a significant amount of snow and ice making them especially susceptible.  Arborvitae, yews, and upright junipers are very prone to snow damage.  Shrubs under the dripline of the roof are also prime candidates for damage from snow and ice falling off the roof. 

You should also be aware that the melting and dripping of snow off the roof on a sunny day can encase a shrub in ice when the temperature drops below freezing again at night.  Tying up plants like arborvitae can reduce the chance of winter damage.  Wrapping plants in burlap is also a good option and comes with the added feature or preventing deer browse. 

There are also commercially available shelters, usually cone shaped, that you can place over your foundation shrubs to help protect them.  If you’re handy, you could make your own with things such as wood or PVC pipe.  Be sure what fabric you use will allow for the transmission of light and moisture but that it’s sturdy enough to shed snow.

Your landscape is one of the most valuable components of your property. Evergreens are becoming more and more expensive so save yourself some time and money this spring by protecting them this winter.

Get More Info From The Pros!

Looking for more information on plant health care or just ready to let the professionals take over your lawn care needs? The Grassmaster Plus team is ready and willing to answer any questions you have and can provide you a free quote on your lawn care services for the season. Contact our local office today!