How To Recover From Winter Burn Without Replacing Your Plants

April 27, 2021 | | | |

Come spring, gardeners might discover that their evergreens and needled plants have brown, dry patches. This is known as winter burn, or desiccation, and is caused by a combination of things including: freezing temperatures, low soil moisture, and blowing winds. The good news is with most cases, and with a little care, your trees and shrubs will bounce back from the winter burn and be as good as new. If you think your plants have winter burn, or any other issue, send a picture to our team of diagnostics experts at our garden center who will get back to you ASAP and help you figure out how to treat it. Here  are a few tips and tricks to help you treat winter burn and avoid having to replace your trees or shrubs. 


1. Look for Green

If new foliage hasn’t started growing by spring scratch the park on the affected branches and look for green underneath. When it’s green you can leave it to heal on its own because there is life, but if it’s brown it’s time to prune! After a few growing seasons, the tree or shrub will fill in the areas that you’ve had to cut away. If the tree is completely brown, recovery is unlikely and in that case, you’ll need to replace it. 


2. Prune 

Winter burn starts with the tips of shrub needles turning brown, and then eventually full needles on a whole section of the tree are brown and dry. Prune away the brown, dead, and dying needles/branches once new foliage has started to grow on the tree or shrub because premature pruning could worsen the desiccation. New foliage will often push out the dead tissue and you won't need to do much pruning. 


3. Prevent Winter Burn

The best way to treat winter burn is to avoid it completely. There are a few steps you can take to prevent it. 

  • Plant evergreens at the right time of year
  • Don’t do any late season pruning
  • Keep them well hydrated
  • Protect them during the winter with burlap sacks or any kind of protective material that will shelter them from the cold and the wind. 


Gardening and maintaining your landscape is always a learning process and we want to help you every step of the way. The experts at Glover Nursery are always happy to answer any of your questions.  Don't forget that you can send pictures of your plants in to our expert diagnosing team. They will help figure out the best solution! Stop by or give us a call!


Other useful links and resources:

How To Winterize Your Fountain

Best Plants for Your Winter Garden

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