Protecting Evergreen Shrubs From Harsh Winter Cold And Winds
Desiccation is the dehydration of a plant. It takes place when water loss arises in the leaves through transpiration, which occurs during the winter as brutally cold winds rip through our region. Evergreen shrubs maintain their foliage throughout winter, so, protecting them from desiccation will ensure they do not dry out and die during our cold winter months. Applying an anti-desiccant or (antitranspirants) will help make sure your evergreens stay healthy through the winter.
Anti-desiccant is a foliar, topical application that forms a waxy coating around the leaves of evergreens. This coating protects the leaves from losing water through transpiration. By maintaining the moisture in the leaves, broadleaf evergreens will be able to survive the winter, even when frozen ground limits the availability of water.
Broadleaf evergreens are most susceptible to damage throughout the winter and are most likely to experience harming long-term health effects from winter damage. Broadleaf evergreens that are prone to winter damage in our area include, but are not limited to, rhododendron, boxwood, and holly.
Anti-desiccant applications must be completed in the late fall and early winter when temperatures are above 40 degrees. Applying anti-desiccant when temperatures are below freezing can actually do more harm than good for a shrub. It is important to pick a period of time that will be rain and frost-free for at least 24 hours, as both rain and frost can impact the application’s effectiveness. When applying anti-desiccant, be sure to apply it to both the topside and underside of the leaves.