The temperature is dropping, and your evergreens need protection! Whether you’re just starting out or already familiar with overwintering evergreens, the tips in this guide will prove helpful. Stay cozy and keep those trees beautiful for next season by reading on.
Should Evergreens Be Covered in the Winter?
Cold air temperatures are unlikely to damage plants if they are growing within their hardiness zone. However, snow and ice crushing on coniferous shrubs pose a danger to your evergreens, as does wind chill, pests, and other animals. By covering your trees in fabric covering like burlap, you protect them against all of these hazards. Salt drift can also be prevented by wrapping evergreens—which brings us to our first point!
Wrap Your Evergreens in Burlap
When your evergreen is healthy, strong, and mature, you won’t need to wrap it. If it’s a young tree, however, you’ll be happy you took this extra precaution once winter arrives! Wait until your trees are dormant to wrap them, and you’ll thank yourself for this later on. By wrapping your evergreen branches, you protect them from the heavy snow that can accumulate on them in the winter—as well as other problems like winter animals that try to make a home out of your tree!
How To Wrap an Evergreen
To directly wrap your evergreen trees, you will need to begin at the tree base. Wrap the trunk in a generous amount of burlap, lightly tying with twine at the base. From here, proceed to make your way up the tree with burlap wrapping around in an upward direction. To allow your evergreens to receive light, ensure that you leave the top open when wrapping them. The burlap should be spread wide enough so that your tree can breathe, while also being snug enough to protect it from wind chill.
Water and Nourish
Protecting your evergreen trees in the winter starts well before the cold arrives, especially if you have young trees in your garden. Keep them well-hydrated through the fall until the ground freezes. Since newly-planted evergreens haven’t had the opportunity to establish roots, pre-winter watering is crucial to their survival.
Take Precaution Against Winter Tree Pests
It’s not uncommon to find critters chewing on tree trunks or branches during the winter, particularly during a colder season. The bigger animals are harder to deter, but the smaller ones, like voles and rabbits, can be completely fenced off with a small diameter fence or chicken wire. You should also watch out for these common garden pests in addition to animals that bother your evergreen trees:
- Scale Insects
- Hemlock Wooly Adelgid
- Spider Mites
- Lace Bugs
All of these winter critters can be combated by applying a natural insecticide or horticultural oil. Overwintering insects, their eggs, and even disease spores will be smothered by this, helping to prevent their reproduction.
Create a Shade Barrier
Another way to protect your evergreen trees from the winter sun is to install a shade barrier using stakes and burlap. Simply place three to four stakes in the ground and wrap burlap around them. Burlap should cover three or four sides of the plant, but not touch its branches or cover the top.
One word—mulch. In addition to offering your plants countless benefits, mulch also keeps your evergreen trees safe during the winter. When temperatures dip below freezing, winter mulching is different from summer mulching. Its main purpose is to shield the ground from the warmth of the sun during the winter months. In the event of a brief warm spell, the plant will remain dormant, and not grow when mulched.
Is your young evergreen getting ready for its first winter protection in Chicago, or is your old evergreen in need of some tender loving care? Visit us at Platt Hill Nursery in Bloomingdale and Carpentersville for all your late-fall and winter needs!