Winter Care : Methods for Plants to Stay Green in Winter

Your lawns and gardens provide year-round beauty when you include a variety of evergreens in your landscape design. Evergreens range from tall, majestic pines to bushy cedars and glossy-leafed holly shrubs. Although evergreens are typically winter-hardy plants, some basic seasonal care is recommended to keep the plants looking their best.

Water In Warmer Weather

A healthy watering routine is a vital aspect of lawn management that impacts your plants throughout the year. Provide evergreens with about one inch of water per week until the first frost of the season. After the first frost, avoid watering your evergreens when temperatures are below freezing. On warmer winter days, water evergreens well.

Remove Irrigation Systems

Remove and store your irrigation system. including sprinklers and hoses, before the first frost of winter as part of your seasonal lawn care routine. Irrigation systems are easily damaged by freezing temperatures, and damaged irrigation systems can cause severe water leaks that significantly damage evergreens and other plants.

Provide Root Protection

In late fall, add mulch to the base of shrubs and trees to help your plants conserve moisture and reduce the risk of frost damage. Typically, a two inch layer of mulch is recommended in regions with mild to moderate winter temperatures. In regions with severe winters, add up to six inches of mulch around the base of each plant. 

Allow two inches of space between the mulch and the base of the plant to prevent insect damage. In regions with harsher winters, mulch may not provide enough protection for your evergreens. Wrapping your evergreen plants is a simple way to keep your landscaping healthy when temperatures drop below freezing.

Prevent Water Loss

During winter, evergreens can become dry, brittle or brown as a result of water loss caused by exposure to wind, sunlight and cold temperatures. To reduce water loss in smaller evergreens, use an anti-desiccant spray. The spray covers the plant with a protective, waxy coat that reduces water loss and provides some protection from the elements. 

Use the spray in early winter when temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If necessary, apply a second coat of the spray late winter to further reduce moisture loss.

Wrap Your Greenery

Cold temperatures can cause severe damage to both established and new evergreens. For instance, older trees may develop cracks when exposed to freezing temperatures. Wrapping your trees and shrubs is an easy way to keep your prevent damage caused by winter weather. Traditionally, evergreens are wrapped in burlap, a rough fabric that is both breathable and durable. 

To use burlap on larger trees, wrap the material around the tree trunk beginning just under the lowest branches. Secure the burlap using twine. Leave the top of the plant exposed when wrapping saplings and smaller plants to allow sunlight in, and avoid using plastic and other non-breathable materials to wrap your evergreens. 

Caring for Potted Evergreens

Evergreens are popular plants that are often found both inside and outside the home. If you have potted evergreens that are small enough to move, bring them indoors before the first frost is expected. Place the potted plants in a sunny window and water them as usual. 

Larger potted plants can remain outdoors in a sunny location that is protected from the wind. For instance, a south-facing exterior wall may be the ideal location for potted evergreens that are too large to move indoors.

Burlap and anti-desiccant spray are also suitable to use on potted evergreens that are stored outdoors sitting winter. To wrap potted evergreens, use gardening stakes or gardening cages to support the burlap. Remove the wrap after temperatures warm above freezing in early spring.