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Carpenter Costin Blog

Tips for Protecting Shrubs in the Winter

Keep your shrubs safe from winter elements with these simple winter shrub care tips.

If you ensure your shrubs make it through the winter damage-free, you’ll be preventing many landscape-associated headaches come spring time. The main threats for shrub damage in the winter include wind damage, snow-weight damage, and salt damage. protect shrubs in winter

Wind Damage

The cold winter wind is capable of excessively drying out the shrubs that maintain their foliage in the winter. The drying process occurs through transpiration of the water within the shrub’s foliage, and is also known as desiccation. To protect your shrubs from drying out, you can apply anti-desiccant liquid to all your broad leaf evergreen shrubs.

Wrapping your shrubs in burlap, or creating a burlap screen, will also help protect your shrubs from damaging winds.

Snow Damage

Depending on which New England winter shows up (100” season like 2010 or hardly a dusting like 2011); your shrubs could potentially be damaged by heavy snowfall, and the placement of snow by shovels, snow blowers, and plows. The weight of heavy snow alone can be enough to damage shrubs. Compounding that weight by clearing snow from your walkways, driveways, decks, and patios onto your shrubs can cause serious harm. If possible, try to limit the amount of snow weight on your shrubs, especially the younger, less established ones.

Salt Damage

The salt that is used to melt snow and ice is another threat to your shrubs in the winter. Salt acts as an herbicide and can seriously damage or kill the shrubs in its path. There is very little you can do for your shrubs that line the streets that are salted by the town or state; however, on your own driveways and walkways, try to limit the amount of salt used near your shrubs, as it will have a negative impact on their health. If you are experiencing salt damage year after year, you should consider planting a salt-tolerable variety of shrub. Burlapping may help protect from salt damage slightly; however, it is very possible that salt will penetrate the burlap.

If you can limit the damage that the wind, snow, and salt cause to your shrubs in the winter, you’ll be much happier with your landscape come spring. It is also a wise idea to have an Arborist inspect the shrubs and trees on your property before winter hits to ensure everything is in a safe, healthy condition.

(Image by Clementina - Wikimedia Commons)

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