As the cold weather approaches, it's important to prepare your yard against the harsh elements. If you have shrubs and small trees in your yard, there are a number of precautions you can take to ensure your plantings don't get destroyed in the winter. From adding layers of mulch around shrub bases to creating protective screens for fragile plants, you can help your greenery over the winter months with some basic protection. If you've invested time and money into making your yard look great, you'll want to make sure that your shrubs and trees will survive the cold temperatures of winter.
Damage is More Likely When Temperatures Dip in Early Spring and Late Fall
If there is no snow on the ground and temperatures go below freezing, this can cause damage to the roots of your shrubs and trees. Snow provides insulation for your shrub and tree roots. If you don't have added insulation from a heavy layer of mulch, your plants are susceptible to root damage from freezing temperatures. Place at least 6-8 inches of mulch around the base of your trees and shrubs to provide adequate protection for the roots.
Prevent Sun Scald With Protective Coverings
Sun scald happens on tree bark when the tree has thin bark. The young trees gets warmed up during the day by the sun, and then the temperature goes way down at night. The sun causes the tissues in the bark to activate, but then the tissue gets killed when the cold returns. To protect young trees from sun scald, you can wrap trees in commercial tree wrap, or light colored cloth so the bark doesn't absorb the heat of the sun. It is also helpful to refrain from pruning a young tree too heavily so that the branches can help protect the trunk from sun scald.
Watch for Snow and Ice Buildup
If your shrubs and trees accumulate a heavy layer of snow and ice, this can be very damaging to the plantings. Remove any heavy snow if possible, and pay careful attention to any shrubs that were planted within the last season or two. Newly planted shrubs often need a protective cover for a few years, so that they don't get ruined from heavy snow and ice.
As you get ready for the winter months ahead, remember to add plenty of mulch around your plantings, prune as little as possible, and add covers to any shrubs that you believe will be destroyed from heavy snow and ice.