Winter Care for Shrubs and Trees
We might think trees and shrubs are the toughest of our outdoor plants but the harsh winter weather we have seen over the recent weeks can take its toll on these plants, especially those that have been recently planted. Fortunately, it is easy to protect lot of the different types trees and shrubs during winter with a few simple tried and trusted techniques. This short and simple guide will give everything you need to get started on protecting the most at risk plants.
Winter care for newly-planted trees and shrubs
Bare roots trees or shrubs that are planted in the autumn or over winter are vulnerable to winds. Before they have had a chance to anchor themselves into the soil, plants can get knocked backwards and forwards as a result of stronger winter winds, resulting them becoming loose. Keep checking on shrubs and/or saplings that have been recently planted and firm them back in place if necessary. To protect your plants from the wind you can erect a temporary wind break structure using 4 or more tree stakes with wind break netting wrapped around, use U-staples from your local garden centre or DIY store to attach the netting to the wooden stakes.
Dry soil can also be an issue during the colder winter months. To combat the harsher conditions, be sure to add mulch above the fresh soil of your newly-planted shrubs and saplings. Try and do this in either Autumn or mid to late Spring when the soil is moist and warmer.
Winter care for established trees and shrubs
For older and more established trees and shrubs make sure to start by going around your planted area checking tree ties and stakes of trees and shrubs that have been planted for some time. Windy weather can cause these to loosen, which will damage the bark as it rubs against the tie. Go ahead and tighten any/all of them if necessary. Likewise, you may find that some trees need their stake slackening. As a rule, stakes should only be left in place for about 18 months.
Winter care for exotic trees and shrubs
If you live in the south of the country, you may have some slightly more exotic trees and/or shrubs. Make sure you wrap any of these plants during the harsh winter months. Pants such as architectural bananas, palms and ferns will need to be wrapped in sheets of garden fleece, held tightly in place with twine. Drape (rather than fit tightly) garden fleece over plants such as callistemon, campsis, clianthus and other less hardy wall shrubs if frost is forecast.
Winter pruning/shaping of trees and shrubs
No roper Winter care for shrubs and trees is ever complete without a good prune, shape or trim of your deciduous trees and shrubs. Stripped of any foliage you can see the network of branches clearly and identify any wayward shoots or those that spoil the shape of the plant.
It’s a good time to tackle overgrown shrubs, thinning out a congested mass of branches to improve the shape and allow air and light through. If a shrub has exhibited wayward growth this is the time to trim everything into straight edges and lines (if that is your objective). It may also be a good idea whilst you are already working on the shrub and/or tree to remove any dead, diseased or dying branches. This will promote improved growth and will also leave the plant healthier overall.