Up until this week, it has been an unseasonably warm fall, but it’s now just about the right time to start thinking about protecting your evergreen trees and shrubs. We love evergreens for their four-season interest, especially after a fresh snowfall. Since they keep their needles or leaves year round, it is important to take some steps to make sure evergreens remain healthy through the winter months. They will continue to lose water throughout the winter and be susceptible to damage from sunscald or windburn. The best protection against winter damage is moderate moisture in the soil. Continue checking the soil under evergreens into early winter or until the ground is frozen. If we have a dry fall, make sure to keep these plants well watered, especially new plantings.
Some evergreens, planted in windy or sunny sites may need to be treated with an anti-transpirant spray like Wilt-Pruf® to help reduce water loss through the needles. The window to apply Wilt-Pruf® is just after there has been enough cool days and nights for the evergreens to go dormant but temperatures are still above freezing. The spray needs to be applied during the day when temperatures are above 40 degrees and dry thoroughly before dark so it doesn't freeze on the leaves/needles and properly bonds to the surface. It creates a protective film so that the leaves do not lose as much moisture in the dry winter wind. This coating is a natural product derived from pine resin and it gradually wears away over a period of four to six months.
The beginning of October is the time to start protecting cedar, cypress, yews, and arborvitae that are planted in sunny, windy sites. Broadleaf evergreens such as boxwood and rhododendron may also be protected from winter damage. Because broadleaf evergreens have a different leaf structure, you can apply the product well into winter, as long as it’s a sunny day when temperatures are above freezing. One application usually is sufficient, but follow the directions on the label.
You can also use it to protect Christmas trees, wreaths, and garland for the holidays. Spray thoroughly and allow them to dry before bringing the greens indoors.
Posted on 9/29/2016 at 11:11:00 AM