Too early to wrap trees, un­less you use lights

The Observer (Sarnia) - - HOMES - DENISE HOD­GINS

This time of year I start to see peo­ple wrap­ping burlap around trees and shrubs. And I have a few tips about when and how to do this wrap­ping.

It is im­por­tant to wrap ev­er­greens that are ex­posed to strong winds or heavy snow fall. Ex­pen­sive or­na­men­tal ev­er­greens such as stan­dards or top­i­ary, as well as cedars need this pro­tec­tion.

There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent ways to pro­tect th­ese plants.

Top­i­ary or stan­dards shorter than 1.2 me­tres tall, can be pro­tected by ply­wood teepees. This al­lows air cir­cu­la­tion around the plant but pro­tects it from heavy snow­fall, in­clud­ing snow fall­ing off the roof onto plants.

An­other way to pro­tect plants is to wrap them in burlap, start­ing at the bot­tom of the tree and work­ing your way to the top. Don’t wrap the tree so tightly that you dam­age branches, but you want it tight enough to pro­tect the branches and keep the wrap from fall­ing off.

If you wrap trees too early, the burlap acts like a blan­ket and the plant heats up in­side and be­gins to sweat and even mould as there is no air move­ment in­side the burlap.

Do not wrap ev­er­greens with burlap un­til af­ter we have had a good snow­fall and the snow has stayed on the ground.

The wrap needs to be re­moved be­fore the weather warms up in the spring. I like to re­move the wrap when about 80 per cent of the snow has melted.

I am a bit of a lazy gar­dener and have wrapped my cedars with Christ­mas lights.

Start­ing at the bot­tom of the tree with the end you plug into power, I work my way up the tree and wrap the branches as tight as pos­si­ble with­out break­ing them.

Once I have reached the top I work my way back down the tree till I’ve used up all my lights.

I don’t plug the lights in un­til De­cem­ber, but I don’t take them down un­til March or early April. It is not too early to do this.

I like this method be­cause if we have a mild win­ter the plant is able to breathe.

Na­ture is tak­ing care of wa­ter­ing this fall.

Ev­er­greens need to be well-wa­tered be­fore the ground freezes be­cause the nee­dles on ev­er­greens can dry out from strong win­ter winds and this will cause die-back. Denise Hod­gins holds an

On­tario diploma in hor­ti­cul­ture. Grow­ing Con­cerns is pro­duced by Park­way Gar­dens. Send your gar­den­ing ques­tions to Home, c/o The Lon­don Free Press, P.O. Box 2280, 369 York St.Lon­don Ont., N6A 4G1, and we’ll try to re­spond in fu­ture columns.

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