Edmonton Journal - - HOMES - GER­ALD FILIPSKI Grow­ing Things

QI won­der if you would be able to help me out with my ev­er­greens. My yard (front and back) was land­scaped in Au­gust 2017 and I had a lot of win­terkill on my ev­er­greens. Some, like the Green Pen­guin Dwarf pine, to­tally died and it broke my heart (not to men­tion my wal­let). There was also dam­age on the Lit­tle Gem spruce, Sky­bound cedars, Lit­tle Gi­ant cedars, Mops Mugo pine and Celtic Pride Siberian cy­press. I’m won­der­ing what I should do with them be­fore this win­ter.

The Sky­bound cedars had a cover on them but all it seemed to do was burn them on the side that faced south. Should I build a square around these cedars so there is some clear­ance and then wrap them with burlap, or should I wrap the burlap di­rectly on them? What about the other smaller cedars and dwarf spruce/pine/cy­press? How and what do I use to pro­tect them? It cost me a lot to re­place them, and I don’t want to have to do it again next spring.

AEver­greens need to be wa­tered in very well in the fall, right up to freeze-up. If they are planted close to a foun­da­tion you may have to give them some wa­ter dur­ing the win­ter on a warm day. This is es­pe­cially true if there is lit­tle snow cover in the area they are planted.

Erect­ing a burlap screen rather than wrap­ping or cov­er­ing the ev­er­greens is also a good idea to help them through the win­ter. The screen should face the di­rec­tion of the pre­vail­ing win­ter winds. Use three long sticks pounded into the ground in front of the plant in the shape of a V. Sta­ple burlap to the sticks, as high as the plant is tall. This tech­nique will keep the dry­ing winds off the plant while al­low­ing the ev­er­green to breathe, which will not hap­pen if they are wrapped com­pletely in burlap or other ma­te­rial.

If you don’t want to go to the ef­fort of erect­ing the burlap screen you can use a prod­uct called Wilt-Pruf. You can buy this prod­uct as a con­cen­trate and mix it your­self for spray­ing on your cedars. It is a nat­u­ral prod­uct made from tree sap. This prod­uct helps keep the mois­ture from evap­o­rat­ing from cedars and other ev­er­greens. It is this mois­ture loss dur­ing the dry win­ter winds that of­ten causes ev­er­greens to brown.

Make sure you fol­low the in­struc­tions listed on the bot­tle care­fully, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing when to ap­ply the anti-des­ic­cant. If you ap­ply it too soon you can dam­age the plants, so read care­fully. I like to mix it up ac­cord­ing to the di­rec­tions and then ap­ply it with one of those lit­tle hand sprayers. I have the kind that has a pump built into the top of the sprayer. This works great for ap­ply­ing the anti-des­ic­cant, and if the noz­zle plugs, which it might, just rinse it un­der hot wa­ter and you are good to go again.

A few weeks ago I an­swered a ques­tion about dead spots on lawns, which prompted my friend Gail Rankin to write in. Gail is a hor­ti­cul­tural con­sul­tant and I thought you might find it in­ter­est­ing to read her com­ments. Here is her email:

“I read your an­swer to the lawn ques­tion and I agree with what you wrote. The win­ter cer­tainly was harsh and we have lost many of the semi-hardy plants. I had a lot of dead patches in my own lawn this spring, but have at­trib­uted it to the fun­gal disease red thread. Last sum­mer we had hot days and rain at night, which cre­ated per­fect con­di­tions for the growth of creep­ing red fes­cue, a red thread disease.

“This spring I no­ticed a lot of dead patches and the fes­cue was dead. Now the red thread is show­ing up again and seems to be bad in most lawns in the city. Most peo­ple are un­aware of this disease. Un­for­tu­nately, there is no con­trol other than fer­til­iz­ing with a high ni­tro­gen fer­til­izer.”

Ger­ald Filipski is a mem­ber of the Gar­den Writ­ers of Amer­ica. He is the au­thor of Just Ask Jerry. Email your ques­tions to fil­ip­skig­er­ald@gmail. com. To read pre­vi­ous col­umns, go to ed­mon­ton­jour­nal.com/filipski


Ger­ald Filipski rec­om­mends wa­ter­ing your ev­er­greens well be­fore the win­ter freeze-up to help pre­vent win­terkill. If they are planted close to a foun­da­tion you may even have to give them some wa­ter dur­ing the win­ter, but do it on a warm day.

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