Winter Protection

Nov 21, 2023 | Gardening Advice

Help your new perennials weather the cold temperatures and dry winter winds by mulching their beds with evergreen boughs.

1. After the first hard frost, clip back perennials to 6” from the soil.
2. Cut spruce, fir or pine boughs 3-5’ long, and lay them upside down so that they each curve in a half-dome shape.
3. Spread the boughs over the bed in a crisscross pattern so that the soil is well covered.
4. If they’re in a windy spot you can weight them with stones or small logs so they won’t blow away.
5. The boughs will help to insulate the soil and deflect winter winds.
6. In spring, at the first sign of green from your perennials, pull off your boughs and let the sun warm the soil.

The greatest threat to broad-leaved evergreens in winter is drying out. For their first few seasons, their roots often have not grown deep enough to reach unfrozen ground where they can get a drink. Damage will show up the next year as brown leaves and branches – or even a dead plant.

1. In mid-to late November, treat the leaves with ‘Wilt Pruf’. This adds a layer of protection to leaves so that they don’t lose water so easily.
2. Using wooden stakes as a framework, wrap your plants in burlap. Use ‘untreated’ burlap fabric that can be purchased in 4’ or 6’ widths. This protects the plants from wind, deer, and blown or plowed snow.
3. Staple the burlap to your stakes using strips of ‘batten tape’ between staples and cloth, for strength.
4. In April or May your plants can be unwrapped. Stakes and wrappings can be saved for the next year.
5. All items above can be purchased at your hardware store.

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