Keep Your Evergreens Everlasting

Evergreens are the stars of a winter landscape, holding onto their green leaves and needles through this bleak season and offering sturdy branches for snow to land. But these beauties – from Leland Cypress to Frasier Furs to Soft Touch Holly, still need some TLC during the winter.

Here are some of the most common questions we get on caring for evergreens during the winter:

What should I do before winter starts to help protect my evergreens?

In the fall, add a thin layer of mulch – about two inches – along your tree’s drip line to keep the soil moist and the tree’s roots protected from extreme cold.

How much water should my evergreens get?

If you live in a warmer climate where the ground doesn’t freeze, or if you have newly planted trees, water your evergreen as often as needed. Stick a long screwdriver into the soil below your tree to see if your evergreen needs water – if it’s hard to push in, it’s thirsty. In colder climates, you won’t need to water your evergreens once the ground is frozen.

How can I prevent the trunks of my evergreens from cracking?

Wrap ‘em! When temperatures shift between night and day, tree trunks freeze and then thaw, which can cause the tree bark to rupture, leading to cracks. Purchase some crepe tree wrap or burlap to cover the trunk, starting closest to the roots and ending at the lowest branches.

Should I be worried about snow damaging my evergreens?

No! (Most of the time) Those gorgeous layers of snow may look like a burden to your evergreen’s branches, but leaving the snow alone has advantages. Snow protects your evergreens from winter’s bright sun which dries out needles – it also insulates them from freezing temperatures. Certain evergreens with multiple leaders (like Emerald Green Arborvitae) can sometimes split apart with heavy snow & ice. Shaking the branches to remove excess snow will help prevent this.

Why do the needles on my evergreens sometimes turn brown?

If your evergreen looks a little scorched in the wintertime, it’s suffering from winter burn. Dry winter winds and strong sun beating down on your evergreens all day leads to moisture loss and brown needles. If you’ve been caring for your evergreen during the year, it will likely bounce back with all its natural color in the spring. Be sure to prune any parts that don’t green up to make room for healthy growth.

What else should I do to protect my evergreens during the winter?

It’s slim pickings for rabbits, squirrels, and other critters during the winter months, when the bark of young evergreens become a prime feasting target. If this becomes a problem, wrapping your tree trunk could be helpful to prevent damage to vulnerable bark. Some gardeners also use chicken wire to prevent vermin from digging at tree roots and to stop deer from rubbing on trunks.

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