Oct 07, 2015 – Farm News – by Shannon Gojanovich
Don’t Get Burned This Winter
When spring comes, you may notice sections of dried, browned up foliage on your boxwood, Japanese holly, andromeda, rhododendron, etc. While disease may be a first assumption, it is often the case of winter burn.
It is important to remember that up until the ground freezes, evergreens, especially recently planted ones, need regular watering to ensure they are prepared for winter conditions. If these shrubs go into winter time already drought stressed, you can expect to see major die-back if they even survive at all.
Evergreen shrubs are susceptible to winter desiccation which is also referred to as winter burn. Desiccation occurs when the evergreen's foliage loses moisture. This is due to the bright sun and harsh winds along with other factors like salt spray from traffic. In winter, the plants are not able to absorb enough moisture from the frozen soil to replenish the water that evaporates from the foliage. Anti-transpirants can be sprayed on plants once winter arrives which will create a thin film over the leaves to reduce the amount of water that can evaporate from these tissues. They may need to be reapplied during the winter as harsh conditions will reduce the effectiveness. Transfilm is available here in our Landscape Supply. Other protection measures may include loosely wrapping the evergreen with burlap, or protecting the wind vulnerable side of the evergreen with some type of screen. Pruning and re-shaping may be necessary come spring time. However, this can all be mostly avoided with proper plant selection for a particular site, as well as planting shrubs in a timely manner so it may establish before the ground freezes.