By: Jeffrey P. Hagfors, Certified Arborist
Springtime is here? Actually, you will have washed the salt from your car about twenty times and changed the motor oil twice in the 6 months between now and when the spring sun warms the landscape. But it is not until then that you will notice the damage that winter and the prolonged drought of 2002-2003 has caused to your valuable landscape evergreens.
Pines, spruces, yews, arborvitae, junipers, boxwoods, azaleas and rhododendrons require available soil moisture throughout the year. This requirement is most important for the plant in the winter months. When water loss exceeds absorption in the winter, the springtime result is burned foliage, branch loss and possible plant death.
Late season and fall watering is important to winter survival, however, this often is not enough and watering these valuable landscape plants in January and February is impractical, at best. A late fall application of an anti-desiccant is the answer. Anti-desiccants control the amount of plant moisture that is lost through the plants’ foliage and protect them from damaging winter dehydration.
Most evergreens are susceptible to winter dehydration. The most susceptible are new transplants less than five years old and trees with compromised root systems due to compaction of the soil, pavement or root loss due to construction-related activities. Other factors can be important, too. Exposure to winter winds, proximity to reflective materials (such as glass, snow, ice, water and siding), the type and depth of mulch and surrounding topography are among the many factors to consider.
Your Wachtel Certified Arborist can help you prioritize which plants need to be protected from the dry damaging winds of winter. Planning and preparing today will provide you with healthy evergreens to start the new spring.
© Copyright 2003 – Wachtel Tree Science & Service, Inc.