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You wouldn’t go outdoors in below-freezing weather without wearing the proper gear. Come to think of it, the plants in your landscaping could also use a little protection from the elements.

If the evergreens in your landscape could talk, I’d bet that’s one of the first things they’d tell you “ Winter burn is the worst!” Winter burn can happen when plants experience water loss through their foliage during the winter months, leaving them susceptible to tissue damage, particularly from unseasonably warm temperatures, sun and wind exposure.

What Does Winter Burn Look Like?

Symptoms of winter burn on affected plants are relatively easy to spot and typically found on their windward side. The intensity of these symptoms will increase as spring approaches and temperatures rise. Here are a few visible signs of winter burn:

  • Large brown or rust-colored sections above the snowline
  • Scorched leaf or needle tips
  • Thorough browning of leaves and needles
  • Dead buds and twigs

You can prevent winter burn by taking the necessary steps to help winter-proof your evergreens, particularly species like boxwood, rhododendrons, and arborvitae, on your property.

5 Tips for Winter-proofing Your Evergreens in Columbus

When it comes to winter burn, prevention rather than treatment is the smartest and most cost-effective way to go. If you think your evergreens are in the line of fire, seriously consider these tips.

Avoid Winter Burn Hot Zones

Intense sun and wind exposure are two big reasons plants end up with winter burn. At this point, relocating evergreens in your landscape to more protected locations may not be a viable option, however if you want to be sure you have considered all options of helping your plants survive the winter, consider consulting with a landscaping expert for some sound advice. It could save you an expensive landscaping recovery further down the track.

Block the Wind

Try creating stable standing windbreaks or wrap susceptible plants with burlap to provide sun and wind protection. This will also help alleviate some of the moisture loss.

Keep Well Watered

Regardless of the season plants always need water to thrive, particularly evergreens. Keep your evergreens thoroughly watered well into winter and right up until the ground freezes.

Mulch to Retain Moisture

Good quality mulch is essential for sustaining your plants. Add and maintain a good layer of at least 3-4 inches thick with an organic mulch around the base of your evergreens throughout the growing season and into winter. This will help retain soil moisture and improve its capacity to hold moisture. Make sure you use a mulch that is most suitable for the species of plants in your garden to avoid further problems later.

Find Less Susceptible Species

Maybe you’ve ended up on the wrong side of winter burn more times than you’d like to admit. Try working with evergreen trees and shrubs that are less susceptible to winter burn. There are many species that are more resistant to extreme temperatures. If you are unsure what is the best for your location and soil type – Call an expert landscaper in your local area for advice on this. They will know exactly what works best for your zone.

What Happens if Winter Burn Occurs?

When winter burn is visible on your plants, there’s little you can do to treat the damaged areas. Wait until early spring to cut back damaged branches and foliage, before new growth appears.

For any plants severely affected, removal might be the most effective option because damaged plants could attract insects and disease, and possibly lead to bigger landscape problems down the road.

Concerned About Winter Burn on Your Property

If you are still concerned about the welfare of your landscape and your ability to prevent winter burn, consider winter-proofing it with the help of the landscaping experts at Omni Pools & Scapes.