How to Protect Trees and Shrubs in Winter So They'll Spring Back

Cold weather isn't always kind on your landscape, and unfortunately, you might not even notice the damage until it's too late.

Dehydration, frostbitten roots, dead branches, and chewed bark can all take a toll on woody plants, especially if they're young or newly planted.

If you want to help your trees and shrubs spring back next season, here are 6 ways to protect them in winter.


Plant the right varieties for your climate.

Select plants that fall within your USDA hardiness zone—if not one or two zones colder to account for the microclimate in your yard.


Keep your plants well-watered, even in winter.

Most gardeners understand the need to water consistently and deeply during the warmer months, but it’s just as critical to water trees and shrubs as you head into the colder months (especially if you live in a drier climate).

Insulate the roots from temperature swings.


To create a layer of insulation (no matter how little snow you may get), apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch over the root zone of your trees and shrubs.


Shelter trees and shrubs from wind damage.

If your yard is prone to windy conditions, consider wrapping burlap around small conifers and shrubs to protect them in winter.


Protect thin-barked trees from sunscald.

Start wrapping your tree from the bottom up, overlapping the wrap by a third until you reach the first branch. Secure the wrap with a knot or a piece of twine.

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