In late fall, it’s common for folks in Bettendorf to focus their attention on their lawn and garden and forget about protecting their trees and shrubs for winter. It’s understandable—after all, it’s easy to overestimate their toughness, and underestimate their importance. We may appreciate trees and shrubs as a source of beauty, but forget that they actually serve many vital roles in the landscape. Trees help to shield our homes from the wind in winter and from the sun in the summer, saving us money on heating and cooling. Shrubs and trees help us maintain privacy on our properties, and they benefit the environment by producing oxygen. Local wildlife, including birds and important pollinators, depend on them for food and shelter.
Why Protect Trees and Shrubs for Winter?
So, if trees and shrubs can do all that, what could they possibly need from us? The truth is, the winter is a difficult time for every living thing in Iowa—even the evergreens that appear to take it all in stride. While most of the trees and shrubs who are hardy enough for our winters may survive the cold, they often emerge with more than a few “battle scars” from the dry winds and subzero temperatures.
Taking a few simple steps to protect your trees and shrubs can make a huge difference for your entire landscape for years to come. In the spring, a healthy tree or shrub can focus more resources on new growth, and less on healing from the long, harsh winter. Here are some simple and easy ways to protect your trees and shrubs.
Protecting from Wildlife Damage
When we said winters in Iowa are tough on living things, we meant it—hungry deer and rabbits will eat just about anything, including tree trunks and shrub branches.
Use a repellent like Bonide Repels All to keep these animals away from your landscape plants. The product repels with an odor that repels these critters from biting off a chunk. If they ignore the smell, the product also has an unpleasant taste and an eye irritant effect to discourage more chewing. A single application of Bonide Repels All can last for up to two months, saving you a lot of time and trouble.
We also recommend that you use a tree wrap on the trunks of trees, especially newly planted specimens. The wrap adds a physical barrier between hungry teeth and your trees. Make sure to cover the entire trunk from the ground up. Remove tree wrap in early Spring.
Protecting from Winter Burn
If you’ve ever noticed large brown patches on evergreens after the winter, you’ve seen the effects of winter burn. Dry, freezing winds, fluctuating temperatures, and sunlight all take a beating on trees like hollies, rhododendrons, azaleas, and boxwoods. You can’t control the elements, but you can give your landscaping trees the tools to fight back.
Deep watering in the fall is the simplest and most effective way to arm your trees and shrubs against winter burn. It may seem odd to water plants that late in the year, but saturating the roots before the mercury drops is the best thing you can do to help your plants stay hydrated through rugged weather.
Applying an anti-desiccant spray, like Bonide Wilt Stop, is another great line of defense. The product prevents evergreens from losing water by coating the foliage in a waxy protective barrier. You can also use it to keep living Christmas trees fresh for a few extra weeks.
These simple steps take very little effort on your part, but they’re concrete ways you can make an impact on your entire local ecosystem. If you’re looking for winter landscaping supplies in Bettendorf, we’ve got everything you need here at Wallace’s Garden Center.