, Newburyport, MA

November 21, 2012

Tim's Tips: Treat your holiday greens before hanging outside

Tim's Tips
Tim Lamprey

---- — November is winding down and it is time to finish up any of your gardening chores. You never know when the snow will fly!

Hopefully, by now, you have the leaves raked up and put into your compost pile. If you allow the leaves to sit on the lawn, the sheer volume can smother the grass. Leaving a lot of leaves can also offer a lot of protection for moles that may tunnel through your lawn all winter.

The wind during the winter will dry out your broadleaf evergreens. Rhododendrons, azaleas, boxwood and mountain laurel, to name a few, will have their leaves turn brown if they are not protected from the wind. You can treat these plants with an anti-desiccant spray. This product puts a waxy coating on the leaves, which adds protection by cutting down on the amount of moisture lost by 30 to 50 percent.

You can also wrap the shrubs with burlap. The burlap allows some air to pass through the fabric, yet still prevents the wind from pulling too much moisture out of the leaves.

Last year, we found some nifty plant covers at one of the trade shows we attend. The cover is made out of a woven green poly. The weave allows the rain and some air to penetrate the fabric. The poly has an internal structure made of steel that hold the poly in place. The frame prevents snow from crushing the poly. The cover is held in place by tent pegs and folds flat, which makes storage a snap. This is a fast way to cover your shrubs and it is re-usable from year to year. The cover comes in four sizes.

It is not too late to apply lime to your lawn. You can apply lime as long as the ground is not frozen. It can also be applied to your vegetable garden and perennial beds, too.

I have told you about applying an anti-desiccant spray to your shrubs to keep them from drying out in the wind. This product can also be applied to wreaths and garland that you put outside during the holidays.

The wax helps to prevent needle drop and helps to keep the wreaths and garland looking great all through the season. If you put evergreen boughs in your window boxes or other planters, spray these greens, as well, to keep them looking better throughout the holiday season.

Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you have a stress-free Thanksgiving. We will be closed on Thursday, but we will reopen on Friday with our Christmas decorating in full swing. If you never have seen what we do for holiday decorating, you really do need to stop by. You will be pleasantly surprised.

I’ll talk to you again next week.


Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.