19November 2, 2011

Well, Mother Nature sure threw us a curveball this weekend. I guess we can consider ourselves lucky that we weren’t in the 12 to 24 inch snowfall areas.

Last week I told you about anti-desiccant sprays. This spray is a wax that is applied to the leaves of broadleaf evergreen shrubs. The wax forms a coating that cuts down on moisture lost from the leaves to the winter winds. I told you that I would give you some other alternatives that you can use to protect shrubs. Here goes!

The tried and true way to protect shrubs from winter wind damage is to wrap the shrubs with burlap. The weave of the burlap slows down the flow of wind past the leaves of the plant, yet allows some air to pass through. This prevents heat build up from the sun’s rays shining down on the plant. If you have ever been in a greenhouse on a sunny winter day, you know that plastic can trap heat. If you used plastic to protect your plants, you could build up dangerously high temperatures that can damage the plant.

Burlap can be wrapped around the shrub. You would start at the bottom of the shrub and you would circle the shrub, winding the burlap around the plant. The burlap should slightly overlap the previous circling of the plant. If you have ever had to wrap your ankle with a bandage, you will get the idea. Once you have reached the top of the shrub, you will then circle the shrub with twine to hold the burlap in place. Make sure that the twine is tight around the burlap. If the twine is too loose, the burlap will blow off during a strong winter wind.

The other way to use the burlap is to place wooden stakes in the ground around the shrub. The burlap is then wrapped around the wooden stakes. The burlap is held onto the stakes with either nails or staples from a staple gun.

Over the years, I have been looking for a pre-formed cover that you could place over the shrubs. I found A frames made of wood that were covered with burlap. The problem was the construction wasn’t that good and thus they tended to fall apart during the winter. This past winter I found a product from a company called Nu Vue. The cover is made of a green woven mesh. The frame is reinforced metal. They come with stakes that allow you to stake the cover onto the ground. The design doesn’t allow a snow load to collapse the cover. The weave of the fabric slows down the wind, yet doesn’t allow the heat to build up inside the cover. We have 2 sizes available in our store. I think that this will make it so much easier to protect your shrubs this winter and for winters to come. They do fold flat for storage too!

Many of the trees we have in our landscapes are trees that are prone to damage from the winter’s sun. Ornamental pears, cherries, crabapples and all fruit trees are among the trees prone to sun damage. During the later months of winter, the sun shines down on the trunk of these trees. The sun warms up the bark. As the sun sets, the outside temperature abruptly drops and the change in temperature causes the bark to crack or pop loose. There are different types of materials that you can use to wrap the trunk of the tree. This wrap tempers the rapid change in temperature thus preventing the “popping” of the bark. We carry 2 different products that you can use to wrap the trunks of the trees. It is very important to wrap the trunks on trees that were planted in the last 2 years. Once trees get older the upper branches tend to shade the trunk and there is less likelihood of this happening. Unfortunately, these trees, as they get older become a tasty treat for rodents. The bark contains a high concentration of sugar, making it a great food source during the winter. If the bark is chewed off all the way around the trunk, it is very likely that the tree will die the following spring. For this reason, you should wrap the trunks of these trees no matter what the age of the tree.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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