Preparing Evergreens for Winter


Tips to Protect Evergreens From the Cold

Not only do evergreen trees protect our homes from cold winds, their branches and needles act as valuable shelter for overwintering birds in cold or snow-covered landscapes. When we wrap our evergreens in burlap for the winter, we remove that shelter and leave unattractive, often unnecessary, structures in our yards.

Follow these tips to grow strong, healthy evergreens that can endure winter without protection:

  • Plant the right plant in the right place. Use our plant lists to find a tree best suited to your conditions.
  • Don’t plant salt-sensitive species next to salted roads and sidewalks.
  • Maintain a five to eight centimetre layer of mulch below your trees and shrubs to insulate roots and conserve moisture.
  • Ensure that your trees and shrubs get enough water until the ground freezes.

Evergreen trees that are newly planted, have new, tender growth or did not receive enough water during the growing season may be more sensitive to winter conditions and may benefit from extra protection. Any that are close to a road and not salt-tolerant should also be protected from splashing and snow-clearing that may contain de-icing salt.

Install a barrier using burlap and stakes along the side of the evergreen exposed to drying winds or salt-spray. Burlap barriers allow birds to access the tree and homeowners to enjoy their beauty without risking problems from wrapping such as mold or unseasonal new growth if there’s a warm winter period. If you have an eastern white cedar and the weight of snow on branches is a concern, you can also consider binding your tree in twine.

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