How to Keep Your Evergreens from Discoloring During the Winter

By: albertaarb - November 24, 2014

Before you call for tree removal in Edmonton this year to take away dead evergreen trees and shrubs, take some preventative steps. Winter is hard on plants, even hardy evergreens don't escape the harsh conditions. If your evergreen plants suffered from browning or bleaching last winter, there are steps you can take this season to protect them.

How to Avoid Evergreen Tree Removal In Edmonton

There are several reasons why your trees, plants and shrubs may discolor and even die during the cold winter months. Here are some common issues:

Transpiration

Winter sun and wind can work together to deplete moisture from the foliage. With roots frozen, the plant is unable to replenish this moisture loss, resulting in brown discoloration and damage to the plant.

The occasional bright, sunny day can also cause the foliage to warm up to unseasonable levels. When the sun fades, the temperature drops rapidly, causing injury and even death to the plant.

Photo-Oxidization 

Another common problem is that chlorophyll is destroyed and not resynthesized during low temperatures, which results in bleached foliage.

Finally, early or sudden onset of cold weather before the plant has had the chance to "harden off" can result in injury, discoloration or death of the plant. Trees that are not established can fall victim to this problem.

Placement of the tree or shrub is a good indicator of how vulnerable it may be to these conditions. Also, certain parts of the plant may be more susceptible than others. For example, much of the damage tends to occur on the south and southwest sides of the plant. Also, the part of the plant that gets the most wind may be affected.

Certain varieties of plants are more vulnerable, such as Hemlock, Yew and Arborvitae. Of course, any type of evergreen tree, plant or shrub can suffer damage.

Protecting Your Trees, Shrubs And Plants

Keeping your evergreen foliage safe and healthy during the winter may mean taking some preventative actions. Here are some possible solutions:

One solution to this problem is to avoid placing your foliage in areas where it will be vulnerable to damage. Areas to avoid would be the south and southwest sides of your property, as well as non-sheltered areas where it will be exposed to a lot of wind.

Another solution that may work well for smaller shrubs, plants and trees is to place large evergreen plant boughs or holiday tree trimmings against the foliage. This allows protection from harsh conditions.

You may want to construct a barrier of burlap or other material on exposed sides of the plant to protect from wind, sun and cold.

Keep your evergreen watered properly. Avoid over or under watering your plants. If your evergreen has sustained wintertime damage, wait till mid spring to prune back dead or damaged foliage. Fertilize well during early spring. Taking these steps will prevent having to deal with tree removal services in Edmonton next year.

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