Your winter checklist for your landscape:

  • Water your evergreens once every 3 weeks – deep soak them
  • Apply Anti Desiccant
  • Prune deciduous Trees and Shrubs

Last winter was very dry with little snow, resulting in significant winter desiccation injury to evergreen trees and shrubs. Winter desiccation is a common type of winter injury that happens when the amount of moisture lost through foliage is greater than what can be replaced by roots from dry soil. Plant tissue dries out resulting in browning of foliage and dieback, which is often not seen until spring. Injury is found on the outer portion of the branches and is most severe on the side of the tree facing the wind.

Unfortunately, drought conditions have persisted through this past summer and now into fall. If the soil is dry, it does not freeze and allows the water in the soil to continue to evaporate.  It’s extremely important to make sure your evergreen trees and shrubs are getting watered to reduce the chances of even more winter desiccation damage this winter.

Watering evergreen trees and shrubs in the fall and mid-winter is recommended if soils are dry and not frozen.  Air temperatures should be above 40º F.  To check soil moisture, insert a screw driver four inches into the soil.  If it comes out wet and muddy, then the soil is too wet.  If it is dry and dusty, it is time to water.  For evergreen trees, deep soak (two minutes hand watering with a hose on a medium-heavy flow with no nozzle) once every two weeks when conditions are favorable.  For evergreen shrubs, deep soak (ten seconds) once every two weeks.

An anti-desiccant treatment along with watering is an even better option to help prevent winter desiccation injury.  We apply a product that coats the leaf (needle) surface with a clear, glossy film that provides a water-impermeable layer to protect the plant and decrease the rate of transpiration.  A single application in the late fall provides durable winter protection for trees and shrubs.

We also recommend pruning your trees and shrubs. Fall and winter are the best times to do this! Call us for a pruning assessment where we will look for downward growing branches, crossing branches, crowding, and competing branches. We’ll then give you a report on your trees and prune as necessary.

Take care of your evergreen plants this winter with the help of Jensen Gardens! For more information, give us a call at (402) 253-8880.