Snow-covered trees and shrubs.

How to Protect Plants in the Winter

Freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and strong winds are a fact of life during the winter. But this drastic change in climate conditions can also spell trouble for outdoor plants.

Though you can transport many container plants indoors, landscaping plants like trees or shrubs aren’t meant to be household plants. Therefore, the question of how to protect your outdoor landscape comes into play.

How Does Winter Damage Outdoor Plants?

Some winters can be mild, but they often consist of ice, snow, and windchill, especially in the Midwest. Even the sunlight during the wintertime can cause severe damage to landscape plants, such as turning evergreens brown due to dehydration and killing branches and root systems.

Shrubs, on the other hand, can suffer from dieback, which kills shoots, branches, twigs, or root systems, starting from the tips of branches and spreading downwards. And let’s remember that shoveling piles of snow onto your grass, which likely contains traces of deicing salt, can be extremely harmful to your landscape area.

So, what are your options?

Protecting trees with thin bark or those recently planted is a good starting point, as these are the most vulnerable to damage during the winter.

Therefore, covering your trees with plastic tubes or tree wraps can help reflect sunlight and block winds. Furthermore, tree wraps can protect your trees from roaming wildlife, especially as food sources become scarce during the winter.  

Just remember to remove the wraps after the last frost of the year.

Should You Cover Plants in Winter?

Because we live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing, it’s essential to protect your plants from frost damage. Therefore, you may consider covering your plants, such as shrubs, using burlap to allow moisture to come in but also help keep the harsh winter elements out. 

What Do You Cover Plants With in Cold Weather?

In addition to burlap, there are several different materials you can use to cover outdoor plants during winter. You’ll need to choose one based on what type of plant you have and its sun and shade tolerance.

Popular covering materials include mulch, garden blankets, towels, sheets, cardboard boxes and other common household materials.

Mulching, for example, is one of the easiest ways to keep your plants safe during extreme weather. You can use straw, leaves, pine needles, hay, wood chips, or any other organic material that will help insulate your plants from the ground.

When Should You Cover Your Plants?

Covering plants is typically used to protect plants from frost. You can cover your plants before dusk to help trap warmer air inside and remove coverings during the daytime so the plants can get enough sunlight. 

Before covering your plants, remember to remove any snow accumulation from the day. You’ll want to do so carefully as not to damage any branches.

Protect Your Landscape This Winter

Every Minnesotan homeowner knows that lawns never take a holiday, not even during winter. So check out this helpful article for more tips on caring for your lawn this season.

And remember that winter is the perfect time to start planning your organic lawn goals for spring. To ensure you get in the books before the ground thaws, contact Organic Lawns by Lunseth today!

We’ll help you design and create an organic landscape you can be proud of in the New Year.