Protecting Plants in Your Landscape This Winter

In Winter on December 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Written by admin
The winter season in Chicago brings some harsh weather and certain plants in your landscape may need some protection to make it to spring.  Salt from roads and sidewalks can blow onto nearby plants which could dry them out and some plants may need extra support from the weight of the ice and snow.  New plants could also use some extra protection from snow and frost to make it through their first winter.  The most common practices for protecting plants during the winter include wrapping, mulching, and mounding which are designed to protect needles and evergreen leaves, flower buds, and roots. Wrapping Wrapping is the most effective method for protecting evergreens and plants with needles from the wind, snow, and other debris of the winter.  These wraps are made using burlap and bamboo stakes to keep the burlap wrap from touching the foliage of the plant.  It is important to keep the burlap elevated from the foliage to allow for adequate airflow and sunlight to reach the leaves and prevent mold from developing in warmer winter temperatures. To wrap upright plants, surround the plant with at least three tall stakes and tie them together at the top in the style of a teepee.  Once the stakes are secured, wrap the burlap around the plant starting at the bottom and working up.  To secure the burlap, tie some twine around the burlap at the top of the stakes and wrap the twine around the plant to the bottom and tie it off on one of the stakes.  It is important to uncover plants during the day so they receive air and sunlight and recover them each night. Wrapping evergreen plants to protect them from the weight of ice and snow is a little different than the process described above.  To do this, tie a piece of twine to the base of the plant and work your way up bringing the branches closer to the trunk.  The branches need to be tied close enough to the center of the plant to reduce the surface area so that they do not collect more snow than they can support.  Once you reach the top, you can either tie off the twine or spiral it back to the bottom to tie it off at the trunk. Mulching The roots of plants that are marginally hardy or that have been planted or replanted in the fall may be vulnerable to frost heave.  Frost heave happens when the ground repeatedly freezes and thaws which pushes plants out of the soil.  The best way to protect the roots of these plants from frost heave is to put down a layer of mulch between 4 and 6 inches once the ground has frozen.  The mulch will act as an insulator to keep the ground from repeatedly freezing and thawing. Mounding Delicate plants such as roses can be protected in the winter with mounding.  Mounding is the addition of extra soil or mulch to the center of the plant, covering the stems yet leaving the canes exposed.  This technique protects the bottom 8 to 12 inches of the plant to keep the stems and buds healthy so it can grow back in the spring. Before the Chicago area plunges into the worst of the winter weather, you may want to consider protecting the plants of your landscape using one of these techniques.  If you would like more information about winter protection or maintenance for your landscape, contact Green T Landscaping. Comment »
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