Helping Your Shrubs Survive Winter
New homeowners may not realize, but cold climates like in New England, can take its toll on many types of shrubs and trees. From hearty winds to freezing and thawing temperatures, snow and ice, road salt and even hungry animals, there are many ways your landscaping is at risk.
If you are buying your first home, it is certainly not something you probably considered while living in an apartment. The good news is you can prevent winter damage to your trees and shrubs.
You will want to begin preventative measures in the late fall, so that all of your shrubs will be securely prepared for when the first snowflakes begin to fall. Be sure to plan for where those big piles of snow will go once you remove snow away from your walkways and driveway. Snow should never be tossed in the direction of your shrubs.
Here are 4 simple steps to take that will make certain those beautiful shrubs and trees remain healthy, right through until spring.
Deeply water your shrubs in late fall, before the first hard frost. This is especially important for any newly-planted shrubs. Water until the first hard frost.
Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to conserve water and protect the roots. When mulching, leave a 3-inch ring around the base of the shrubs.
Spray evergreens and broadleaf evergreens with an anti-desiccant--which is a waxy coating that prevents moisture loss. Thoroughly spray all evergreens in early fall. Repeat application according to the product's recommended schedule.
To protect shrubs from blustery winter winds, you can build a burlap windbreak. You should locate your windbreak between where the shrubs sit and the direction the wind seems to usually come from – typically the west side of your yard. Before the first frost, hammer 2-by-2-by-48 inch wooden stakes into the ground to a depth of at least 12 inches. Staple 24-inch burlap sheeting securely to the stakes. Construct the break so that is within several inches of your shrubs but not touching them.
Most all plants don’t need covering, but if you have shrubs located in an area with potential for overhead snow to be falling on it, then cover them. Basically, this means to either build a little hut/tee pee for the shrub or wrap the plants or shrubs in burlap and tie them off so it will stay secure. This should be done by mid-to-late November and remain in place until the last threat of snow has passed.
As you prepare for the coming winter inside your new home – cleaning your furnace, ordering a full tank of oil, and adding a cozy throw on the sofa, don’t forget to protect what is outside of your home. Healthy plants and shrubs add value and can provide beautiful curb appeal to your property. Just don’t assume they will survive Old Man Winter without a little help from you.
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