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Just like humans, plants get cold and need protection from frigid temperatures. Evergreen shrubs can withstand flurries, but heavy snow and other hazards of the upcoming season can wreak havoc on these workhorse yard plantings.

What do you cover plants with in the winter?

  • You can cover your plants in burlap to allow moisture in but keep the harsh elements, like wind, out. Other options include adding 3-4 inches of leaves or a layer of mulch around your plant’s base; this will help moderate the soil’s temperature.
  • If you have many plants to protect, consider buying an anti-desiccant spray (a wax that keeps the plant from losing its moisture).

Does burlap protect plants from frost?

Yes. Make sure you cover your plant so that the burlap touches the soil.

When should I wrap my plants for winter?

  • This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook suggests to start wrapping your plants in November.
  • If your plants are new, be sure to cover them for the first two years. The older your plants get, the sturdier they become in surviving winters.
  • Your plants should be able to live through a cold snap, but if they’re having to endure frigid winters of 25 degrees or less for an extended period, consider wrapping your plants.

Should you cover shrubs in winter?

  • Yes. Shield them by hammering 1x stakes into the ground to make a frame, then wrap with burlap and staple the material to the stakes. (Yellow-leafed evergreens, especially, may need to be covered for the first three years of their lives.)
  • Wrap tall, narrow shrubs into a tight column with twine to keep branches from collecting heavy snow or ice and breaking off.
  • Shelter plants up against your home from falling icicles and snow melt with a simple, reusable A-frame structure that you can make from 2x4s and exterior-grade plywood.

8 Steps For Winter Plant Protection

  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.

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