Wrapping Bushes for Winter

Wrapping plants with burlap is a relatively simple way to protect the plants from winter frost, snow and ice.

Some additional benefits are

  • Keeps Deer Away – Deer eat just about anything when they are hungry. A wrap of burlap keeps them from eating the new growth from the previous year.
  • Protects From Ice Damage – The weight of the ice can break branches or bend them dramatically. Some evergreens, especially upright evergreens like junipers can be so severely deformed that they never look good again. Wrapping with burlap can prevent ice damage. It keeps the branches close together so that the ice can’t bend them over.
  • Salt Damage – Salt spray from the road can be damaging to some evergreens. Covering them can help.
  • Protect From Sun – Some of the newer yellow-leafed evergreens, brown very easily in winter from drying and sun damage. This is mostly an issue for 2-3 years after planting. Once the plant is well established it is less sensitive to sun and drying. So if you plant such evergreens it is a good idea to wrap them, in winter, for 3 years.

There are clearly some good reasons for covering your trees and shrubs, but there are also reasons for not covering them.

1) Moisture issues

2) Rodent problems

3) Sun scald

To cover a plant with burlap, begin by placing three or four wooden or stakes around the plant, allowing a few inches of space between the stakes and the plant. Drape a double layer of burlap over the stakes and secure the material to the stakes with staples. Most experts recommend that you not allow the burlap to touch the foliage if you can help it. If burlap becomes wet and freezes, it can still possibly damage the plant. Remove the stakes in spring when you’re sure freezing weather has passed.

What plants should be covered

  • Newly planted shrubs and trees for the first one to three winters.
  • Broadleaf evergreen shrubs such as azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons.
  • Boxwoods
  • Hollies

Arborvitae and yews (deer issues)

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