Too early to wrap trees, unless you use lights
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.