With fall quickly approaching, it’s time to think about over-wintering your plants.

This process should begin in early fall. Plants are just as susceptible to winter drought damage from extreme cold temperatures, winter sun and drying winds.

Most people would be surprised to learn that this particularly affects the Evergreen. The Evergreen is a plant with leaves throughout the year (always green), including pines, spruce, firs, and cedars. Damage occurs when water is leaving the plant faster than it can pull it up.

This happens because the ground is frozen beyond the depth of the root system. The result is the appearance of brown discolored needles or leaves similar looking to a burn. Damage from leaf scorch cannot be reversed. Sun scald occurs on cold, bright sunny winter days. This generally effects young trees with thin bark. Direct sun heats the branches and the bark, activating cells. When the sun sets and temperatures drop it kills the activated (live) cells, causing discolored and cracked bark.

So, as you can see, winter time can be just as drying and damaging as summer. Here are a few suggestions to prevent some of these problems.

  • Keep your Evergreens watered into the fall if possible.
  • Use an antitranspirant/antidessicant to protect them from exposure. These products form a clear permeable physical barrier on the plants surface to protect against all types of damage. They also reduce water loss by preventing evaporation.
  • Wait until mid-spring to prune out the injured foliage.
  • Fertilize plants in early spring and give them appropriate amounts of water, if possible.

Winter is a time for rest, which creates a healthy rebirth come spring. Unfortunately, your Evergreens work year round and need a little help from their friends.