• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook explains how to winterize shrubs.


    1 Water shrubs throughout the fall and up until the ground freezes.
    2 Spread 4 inches of bark mulch or ground-up leaves around base of shrub to insulate the ground.
    3 Create a wind barrier by driving wooden stakes into ground around the shrub, then wrapping burlap around the stakes; staple burlap to the stakes.
    4 Spray an anti-desiccant onto the shrub's leaves -top and bottom to prevent them from drying out.
    5 Start applying the anti-desiccant in November, and repeat once a month throughout the winter; don't spray anti-desiccant when temperatures dip below 40 degrees.
    6 For a large number of shrubs, apply the anti-desiccant using a garden pump sprayer.
    7 To protect shrubs from snow damage, tie up branches with jute twine.
    8 For new plantings, wrap the shrub in burlap and tie with twine for protection from both wind and snow.
    See products and services from this episode
    • Difficulty: Easy
      even if you've got several shrubs to protect
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      Tools List

      • sledge hammer
        used to pound in wooden stakes
      • scissors
        for cutting burlap
      • staple gun
        Staple gun,
        used to staple burlap to wooden stakes
      • utility knife
        Utility knife,
        used to cut twine
      • garden sprayer
        Pump sprayer,
        used to spray anti-desiccant on large number of shrubs

      Shopping List

      1. Wood stakes,

      used to support burlap

      2. Burlap,

      used as a wind barrier for shrubs

      3. Anti-desiccant,

      used to prevent leaves from drying out

      4. Bark mulch or ground up leaves,

      used to insulate ground at base of shrub

      5. Jute twine,

      used to tie up branches