wrapping tree wrap around sapling in late fall

Winterizing new evergreens and trees

Wrap new trees (saplings)

We recommend new trees are wrapped with a protective tree wrap or vinyl guards end of October to help protect against sun scald and frost crack. If you tree does experience winter damage it’s not necessarily terminal for the tree but can increase chances of disease and insect damage. The wrap can also help deter animal damage during winter.

Wrap up to the first tier of branches coming out of the truck and slightly overlap the wrap as you go up the tree.

Remove the wrap in spring after freezing temps have passed because you don’t want to trap moisture and heat when it warms up. There are wraps that state they can be used all year-round so read packages before keeping on all year. This should be continued every year until the bark begins to thicken and roughen.

The following trees have higher chances of winter damage if not wrapped due to their thin bark when saplings.

Apple, Beech, Crabapple, Elm, Horse Chestnut, Linden, Oak, Walnut, and Willow.

Guard your evergreens against the harsh winter weather (and animal damage!)

We love the addition of evergreens to almost any yard. The year-round texture, color and refuge for wildlife is something you can’t replicate with other trees. Plus they look great covered in fresh snow and holiday lights.

The same winter weather and snow that contrasts nicely with our beautiful green and picturesque evergreens can actually do damage to them. Here are tips to protect yours, designed to guard against the drying and damaging affects of winter.

The last two tips are included for those of you who may have experienced damage in previous years and/or added new evergreens.

1. Water thoroughly until freeze.

Keep your evergreens well hydrated throughout the year. Continue to provide ample moisture through October and possibly part of November until the ground freezes. Read our Guide to Watering if you need a refresher.

2. Mulch

Surround evergreens with a fresh layer of insulating mulch to regulate the soil temperature and seal in moisture. Once the ground freezes, the roots cannot replace lost water, and sun and wind can deplete it from the foliage, a double whammy for your evergreens.

3. Spray with Wilt Stop®

Evergreen leaves have more surface from which to lose water, so they are more susceptible to winter desiccation (drying). This can be prevented with an anti-desiccant spray like Wilt Stop that helps to seal in moisture and protect your broad and narrow-leafed evergreens.

Wilt Stop is it is natural and non-toxic— made from the resin of pine trees—and it forms a soft, clear and flexible barrier over foliage to prevent your evergreen from drying out.

4. Create a barrier against wind with burlap ( this can also help with animal damage ).

If the evergreens are planted on the south or southwest side of your home, they may be getting the worst of the winter winds and scalding winter sun, a stressful combination for our evergreens.

Post sturdy metal or wooden stakes at an angle around the evergreen trees, then wrap with burlap, making sure to keep the top open for light and air flow. The natural, porous fiber of the burlap or similar fabric allows some wind to pass through, making it resilient enough to withstand the wind, but minimizing the strongest, coldest gusts from reaching your evergreen. This can also minimize the accumulation of large amounts of drifting, damaging snow. When the snow starts to accumulate in the winter it helps keep rabbits from being up to sneak under and munch on your plant when they are wanting to start eating anything they can find. Use of animal repellents is also recommended if you have a large number of animals around your home.

5. Buddy-tie your evergreen branches.

This is the same philosophy that is used when we buddy-tape a weaker, sprained or broken finger to a stronger one for support.

Many evergreens and other trees have multiple leaders, or two dominant branches. On their own, they can be more susceptible to breakage from heavy snow and ice at the point just above the crotch of the tree or the area where the trunk branches into two.

By joining the two leaders approximately halfway up from the weak crotch area, you give them stability and strength. You can use strips of strong cloth (the rest of your burlap) or nylon stockings for the bind. Remove them before spring growth to allow movement and prevent girdling.

houseplants, kalanchoe

Winter Houseplant Basics

It can be a tough time for our plant babies due to the cold, dryness indoors, and lack of sunlight but it doesn’t take much to keep your plants healthy if you know what they are needing at this time. Winter houseplant basic care in the winter is simple and the rules below should help you take care of your houseplants! Remember houseplants are usually a form of tropical plant and we want to mimic that environment, within reason of course.

Houseplants keep our connection with nature, provide health benefits, and add beautiful color to our rooms. Let’s go over a few things to prevent complete loss and provide optimal houseplant care in the winter.

1.Big no-no! Taking the plant outside with no protection.

Houseplants are available all year-roundso we may not think about what the cold weather can do to the plants if they are exposed to the extreme temperature differences. When it is below 50 degrees, as the winters are in MN, plants do not like to be exposed to the cold. Think of plants like us. We can’t go outside without a protective layer in freezing temps. When buying a houseplant, make sure it gets wrapped up in plastic or paper before you leave the store and do not keep in the car without heat for long.

2.Add humidity around with trays with pebbles and water when humidity is low.

With the heaters going in the house, this can drop humidity levels drastically. If you don’t want to buy a humidifier for the rooms that you or your plant are in (humidity is good for us too!) , this is a good method to increase humidity around our houseplants.  Fill a tray underneath your plant with pebbles. Make sure your plant is never sitting in the water so it still needs a smaller saucer underneath the actual pot. When the water evaporates, the humidity is elevated around the plant. Keep the tray filled with water. This also helps prevent spider mites since they love dry plants! 50-60 percent relative humidity is a good level for both people and plants. Some thin leafed plants may need up to 70 percent. Even succulents/cactus don’t mind humidity at 40 percent or more!

3. Make sure the warm air isn’t blowing directly onto the plants.

Along with humidity you must pay attention to temperature. Quick fluctuations of cold and heat can damage the foliage of a plant and dry it out too quickly. Buy a duct cover to direct airflow or move the plant away from the heating vent.

4. Make sure the leaves aren’t touching the windows.

The leaves touching the window are probably going to be damaged by the cold. You can put a barrier between them and the window if possible. Cardboard or some other form of protection if you don’t mind the obstructed view if you absolutely need the plants that close to a window.

5. Do not re-pot your plant into a larger pot in the winter.

Your houseplant is probably not actively growing and will do better up-potted in the spring or before November. If you do need to pot up, just pot 1-1/2 inches up and make sure you are paying very close attention to the water level in the soil! We don’t want to drown them. Pay attention to plants potting needs also. For example, Jade plant likes to be snug in its pot.

6. Hold off fertilizing your houseplants until March.

If a plant is over-fertilized in the winter it can create weak growth. Think of your plant as on a diet and ramp up the feedings around spring time.

7. Reduce watering frequency.

Too much watering is a common mistake people make with their houseplants. It really all depends on the environment in your home but before you water always check to see if the soil is dry before watering. If it’s damp, hold off. Succulents, cactus, sanseveria, zz plants, rubber plants, and pothos, are examples of houseplants that you can let the soil go completely dry before watering. Some plants, like prayer plants, ferns, and spider plants can be watered when the first inch of soil is dry yet still a bit damp deeper in the soil. Research your individual plant needs to find out their preferred watering schedule! You will get the hang of it quickly for each plant.

 

Don’t give up all hope if some houseplants don’t survive. Houseplant care shouldn’t be stressful! You just may need to try a different plant for your home! To keep our houseplants happy we do have to pay attention to what certain varieties of plants prefer so if you have any questions please feel free to call or email us with questions! Pictures help us diagnose issues also.