Evergreen Winter Care

Most established evergreens that are hardy for our zone will be able to tolerate the harsh winters that come with living in Manitoba. There are a few key things, however, to keep in mind to keep your evergreens as healthy as possible over the winter. Despite the cold February temperatures the sun is still quite strong; The winds are harsher than in the summer; And the ground is frozen- making it impossible for your plants roots to take up any moisture. Because evergreen trees and shrubs keep their leaves throughout this period, moisture is still escaping the plant- the warm sun is evaporating it the dry winds are pulling it out. Evergreens are losing more moisture than they can replenish, which is seen by browning. Also, heavy snows can lead to breakage of branches. There are a few ways to prevent this:

• Choosing a more sheltered location;winter green

• Wrapping plants in burlap;

• Using an anti-transpirant;

• Wire or mesh netting

Location:
Not always the ideal solution because these plants may require full sun to grow or because of the general design of your landscape. If possible, choose the location for your plant in an area that is sheltered on the north side. The harshest winter winds come from the north, so having something there blocking it is recommended.

Burlap:
Or any other material that "breathes" works for wrapping your evergreens. To start, figure out how many sides need to be wrapped (if it is only sun you're worried about, protect the south and west sides only; otherwise plan to wrap all sides). Place 4 stakes (as tall as the tree or a foot taller) in a square around the tree/shrub, or only 3 stakes in a triangle if protecting only 2 sides. Drive stakes into the ground at least 6 inches, and before the ground freezes. Staple or wire your burlap tightly onto each stake, to form a wall or screen. Try not to touch the tree with the burlap to avoid any moisture wicking away. Leaving the top open, especially when using this method, allows snow in rather than it sitting on top and causing breakage.

winter protection

Anti-transpirant:
Using an anti-transpirant, such as Wilt-Pruf, helps prevent moisture loss by adding a coating to the leaves. Apply it in the fall before freezing to last through the winter.

Netting:
Using a netting or twine will keep branches together when heavy snow lands on your tree or shrub. It will help the branches support each other when they would normally break under the weight.