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October 17, 2012

Tim's Tips: Prepare your broadleaf evergeens for winter

Take a look around your yard. You probably have some shrubs planted. Do you remember how much you paid for those shrubs? If they have been in the ground for a few years, their value has gone up.

If the wind or the snow damages those shrubs, how much would it cost to replace them? With winter coming, you should begin to think about how you are going to protect those plants from the elements.

If you have rhododendrons or any shrub that keeps it leaves over the winter, the winter wind can dry those leaves. Excluding the wind that occurs during rain or snow, the winter wind has very little moisture. As the wind blows past the leaves, moisture is pulled out. Eventually, the wind will pull out enough moisture and the leaves will begin to show brown or black spots. Under severe conditions, an entire leaf may turn brown. You can help to prevent this from happening by preparing your broadleaf evergreens for winter.

Your rhododendrons and other broadleaf evergreens take up water in the fall and store it in the leaves. This allows the leaves to lose some moisture to the winter wind. So far, we have had a decent amount of rain this fall. If we stop having rainy weather, you should water your shrubs once a week right up until the ground freezes.

You also need to take additional steps to prevent the wind from doing damage to the leaves. You can apply a product called Wilt Pruf to the leaves of your shrubs. This product applies a waxy coating to the leaves to cut down on moisture loss by 30 to 50 percent. This product must be applied at temperatures above 40 degrees. Rose bushes and hydrangeas are two other plants that will benefit from an application of this product.

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