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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 1/8/2014

IN THE GARDEN

Shrubs, trees need winter protection

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
GARDENING COLUMNIST FOR THE BLADE
Kelly Heidbreder Kelly Heidbreder
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What a start to 2014. More than a foot of snow and 40 mph winds make it a very wintery start with record-breaking low temperatures. As the snow piles up and the winds howl, take a look around your landscape and protect the large shrubs and trees that give your garden its shape.

Give them a coat

If you haven’t done it already, wrap your shrubs with burlap. It will keep the tips from drying in the bitter wind and keep it strong under the weight of heavy snow and ice.

Wrap each bush or line of bushes with burlap supported by stakes. If the ground is too hard to pound in stakes, then just wrap the shrub and secure the wrapping with twine. 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.

Protect trees and shrubs that face the south since they will be getting the brunt of the north wind. And also protect the shrubs and trees that are near the street from the salt spray.

 

Plant Chapstick

Many of your flowering and evergreen shrubs need some protection from the wind during the winter months. Spray them with a winter wax to help keep the moisture sealed in the leaves. It is almost like Chapstick for your plants. It also doesn’t protect branches from breaking in strong wind conditions. You might need to apply this more than one time before spring.

 

Knock it off

As the snow starts to pile up, it can snap branches. If you get more than a few inches of snow on them, it is a good idea to sweep it off with a broom or shake the branches to knock off the heavy weight of the snow.

Ice is another problem. An ice storm can cause major damage to large trees, pulling down power lines and making a neighborhood look like a war zone. It is hard to protect your trees from ice. Keeping them strong during the growing season is the best way to help them hold up to heavy snow and ice.

Regular pruning to get rid of damaged and diseased branches will keep their core strong. Remember back to your basic pruning techniques, taking out the damaged and diseased branches first. Then go after any branches that cross each other. Once you have gone that far, step back and take a look at the overall shape. You might need to trim a few branches to keep the form of your shrub or tree.

If you would like to wait until warmer weather to prune your trees and shrubs, you can help them by giving them some extra support. If you have long horizontal branches that need to be protected, consider bracing them before the potential of an ice storm or heavy snow is upon us.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com 



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