Winterizing Trees & Shrubs

The Gift of Wrapping


Winter is a time for bundling up. What’s cozier than a weatherproof jacket or a nice warm blanket? How about burlap? No? Your tree may think so. One way to help winterize your trees and shrubs is to wrap them to help protect delicate bark and branches from winter’s wrath.

Winterize Trees & Shrubs

Winter weather can be harsh on many living things, including trees and shrubs. From the weather to the wildlife, there’s a lot your plants need protection from. Done correctly, any winterizing technique should help plants survive the winter and thrive come spring. One way to offer some protection is by wrapping tree trunks or the entire plant. Knowing how to do it properly is key.

Some of the most susceptible plants are young trees and shrubs that haven’t fully developed. These new plants may not recover as quickly from sunscald or animal damage. You can help prepare them for winter as early as the fall. Depending on where you live and the weather forecast, you could wait until after the first of the year. However, any winter wrapping should come off in time for spring.

Tree Wrapping

Now that the holidays are over, you may think your wrapping is done. Not so fast. Wrapping a tree could help prevent the bark from becoming scorched by the sun or eaten by animals. You can put the holiday wrap away. There’s specialized material for tree wrapping that’s more breathable and weatherproof.

Young trees have thin bark that needs extra care. Tree wraps add a protective layer from the root flare to the first set of branches. These wraps don’t stick to the bark. They’re loosely wrapped around the trunk in an overlapping pattern and secured with twine or tape at the top.

Evergreens also benefit from different wrapping methods. Their branches can get weighed down by heavy snow and ice, so some gardeners tend to wrap the entire tree in burlap. Once a tree is loosely covered from base to tip, twine is wrapped to reinforce the top, middle, and bottom. The wrap should be tight enough to not unravel, but loose enough to not damage the branches.

Some may choose to wrap a tree in a tent-like design. Create a barrier using three stakes in the shape of a triangle around, and slightly taller than, the tree. Wrap the burlap around the stakes enclosing the tree.

While wrapping a tree helps it survive the winter, it can also cause damage if left on too long. An enclosed barrier is a perfect place for insects and other pests to nest. Moisture may also form between the bark and wrap, creating a perfect place for fungi to form. Remove any guard once the tree enters the growing season in the spring.

Professional Tree Care

Wrapping is only one way to help winterize your trees and shrubs. Other methods, such as fertilizing in the spring and fall, proper pruning, and regular watering also help improve the health of your tree. It’s also a good idea to have your trees regularly inspected by a certified arborist, especially if you notice any signs of stress from winter weather or disease. Contact Cardinal Lawns for a consultation and more information about the proper way to wrap and winterize your lawn and garden.

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