Is Tree Wrapping Worth it in Winter?

How to Help Keep Plants Happy this Season


Have you ever wrapped your tree to help protect it from winter weather? There may be some benefits to this practice, but there are also some serious risks. Learn more about tree wrapping and decide if it’s worth it for your plants.

Reasons for Tree Wrapping

There are several reasons people wrap trunks in burlap, create a chicken wire barrier, or cover shrubs with a cloth over the winter:

  • Helps retain moisture
  • Keeps deer and other wildlife from eating
  • Protects from sun, ice, wind, and other harsh winter weather
  • Reduces road salt damage

Wrapping a tree with burlap can help with these issues—especially young trees that aren’t fully established yet. Wrapping even prevents branches from breaking under heavy snow and ice by keeping branches close together so ice doesn’t bend them.

One alternative to wrapping is to create an enclosed barrier around, yet away from the tree trunk. Fill the space with leaves to help trap warmth while still allowing air to circulate and reduce moisture.

Risks of Wrapping

While there are good points, there are also bad. Wrapping trees can lead to:

  1. Moisture issues. We just established wrapping helps retain moisture, but too much of something is also a bad thing—especially for plants native to cold regions that can handle the temperature. Too much moisture leads to rot.
  2. Rodent problems. Pests will be more than happy to nestle between the wrapping and tree. Not only is it cozy but it’s also next to a food source.
  3. Sunscald. The wrong kind of covering—like clear plastic—can attract light, make it too warm, and scald the plant. The warmth also tricks the plant into thinking it’s time to grow. Once another severe cold snap comes around, the new growth dies.

Is it Worth it?

Wrapping plants correctly has the chance of helping more than hurting. However, not all plants need to be covered, including ones that thrive in your growing zone. Your best bet is to choose plants that can survive the winter without wrapping. This means less work for you and less stress on your plant. Contact Cardinal Lawns for more information on the best plants for your area.

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