With winds clocked between 50 and 80 mph this past weekend, you know it is time to prepare for winter. This early winter tornado event has gardeners scrambling to clear debris and if you haven’t prepared your landscape for winter, now is the time.
Many of your flowering and evergreen shrubs need some protection from the wind during the winter months. If you have just a few shrubs, you can try spraying them with a winter waxy spray to help keep the moisture sealed in the leaves. It is almost like lip balm for your plants.
It is simple to apply, but doesn’t last the whole season. You may need to apply this more than one time before spring. It also doesn’t protect branches from breaking in strong winds.
Wrapping each shrub with burlap helps keep the wind from drying out the leaves. It also helps keep the plant strong under the weight of heavy snow and ice.
It only takes a few steps, but can take more time than just squirting a little waxy spray on the leaves. Wrap each bush or line of bushes with burlap supported by stakes. Start by pounding at least three stakes in the ground around smaller shrubs. If you have a wide shrub, you will need more stakes. Focus on protecting the shrubs that face the south since they will be getting the brunt of the north wind. Secure a sheet of burlap around the stakes, being careful not to wrap it too tightly. Burlap works best because it will let a little air flow through to help any moisture evaporate, but still blocks most of the harsh wind.
Eye on the ball
Your plants need the most protection from thawing and refreezing, so you need to keep your eye on the rootball. The roots need to stay cold and frozen. Insulation will do the trick. Keep a three to five inch layer of mulch around your plants after the ground is frozen. If you toss it around your plants after the ground is frozen, it will help keep them frozen.
Protect the root and stem of your prize roses with insulation in the form of a bag of compost. Dump a three-inch layer around the base of each rose and it will keep the frozen roots frozen.
You may think the ground is too hard to soak up moisture, but that’s not true. Give your plants a good supply of moisture before the ground freezes to hold them over for the winter.
Contact Kelly Heidbreder at firstname.lastname@example.org