Fall is here and while you may think that the cold is the biggest issue your trees and shrubs will have to face, the truth is there are a number of factors that can damage them. Problems such as dry winter winds, frozen soil, animals, and alternating freeze and thaw cycles can all cause damage to your plants. So how can you winterize your trees and shrubs? The following tips will give you, and your plants, a helping hand with getting through the winter.
Stop Pruning and Fertilizing Right Now.
When you trim your branches you stimulate new growth that will be unprepared to handle the cold and harsh weather of winter. You want to give your plants a chance to go dormant before the cold weather arrives, and by not trimming or feeding them you help them with that process. Fertilizer also encourages growth, so stop providing it by mid-summer.
Give your plants as much of a head start as possible. Once the ground freezes, roots can no longer take up water so water thoroughly until the root area (about 12-18” deep) is soaked. Stop watering once the ground freezes.
Give Them Some Mulch.
After the ground freezes mulching around the base of the plant will insulate the soil around the roots and prevent the freeze/thaw cycle from damaging the roots. Make sure to keep the mulch a couple of inches from the trunk to prevent it from rotting or becoming a feast for rodents.
Wrap Them Up.
Evergreen trees and shrubs—including Rhododendrons—can benefit from a burlap blanket to protect them from wind damage. This will also help to keep deer from turning them into a mid-winter snack. These plants are different from your other trees and shrubs because they never go fully dormant, so you should continue to water them when the ground isn’t frozen.
You may also want to wrap the stems of young or delicate trees to prevent damage from ice and snow. If snow builds up on branches you can gently knock it off, however, once the snow has frozen it’s best to leave it alone as you can end up doing more damage than the snow by breaking delicate branches.
If you’d prefer to leave all of the winter prep to the professionals give Aronica Plant Healthcare a call! They’ll make sure that your garden is ready for winter so you can have a beautiful and green spring.