Bay Winter Winds Taking a Toll on Young Evergreens #427788 - Ask Extension


Bay Winter Winds Taking a Toll on Young Evergreens #427788

Asked September 20, 2017, 12:35 PM EDT

Several years ago we plants different types of evergreens and some of them are exposed to the winter winds off the Bay between our house and our neighbors. They are still alive but showing damage. Would it help to protect these trees if we wrapped them for the winter? If so, when do you suggest doing this?

Talbot County Maryland

Expert Response

Yes, wrapping your evergreens is one way you can help protect them from winter damage. Wait until the first frost to do this. You can either wrap the plants, or construct a protective screen with burlap or canvas to block the worse of the prevailing winds. Another option would be to use an anti-dessicant product. This would need to be applied several times through the winter (following the label instructions).  

Our trees have already sustained considerable damage.  Would we do better replacing the trees and then protecting the new trees or will protecting the existing trees help to revitalize them?
I look forward to your response.  Thank you.
The Question Asker Replied September 27, 2017, 11:06 AM EDT
Do you know what types of evergreens you have? Can you tell us about how they were planted? Did you do a soil test prior to planting, and/or add any soil amendments? Are the evergreens exposed to saltwater spray? 

We would be happy to take a look at photos of your plants to see what type of symptoms/damage you are dealing with. That would help us make recommendations for you. You can attach up to three photos at a time.

WEmerald Green arborvitae, Boulevard Cypress and Blue Spruce. Planted Spring 2014 with aged horse manure. No soil test was done.  Exposed to salt spray about 200 feet from Bay  with winter winds tunneling between two houses. 
The Question Asker Replied September 30, 2017, 2:50 PM EDT
We viewed your photos.  These trees are not well suited for the location and wind protection most likely will not solve the problem. The best solution would be to replant next spring. 

The trees may have declined due to poor planting techniques, poor soils, poor drainage, lack of moisture, possible wind damage, etc.  See our publication on these types of problems
The arborvitaae has damage on the one side and may not comeback.

Boulevard cypress - In general, one of the characteristics of the Boulevard Chamaecyparis is that the old inner needles die and do not fall off. Consequently, there is a lot of unsightly dead material on the tree, making it undesirable. There is nothing you can do to remedy this problem. All you can do is prune dead plant material.

Spruce -  When stressed by issues such as poor planting techniques, drought, planting too deeply, poor soils, etc. they can be susceptible to several fungal diseases such as a needlecast disease and Cytospora canker.  In general, these trees are not really well suited for our area as they are native to climates further to the north.

At this point it is up to you if you want to protect them and see how they make out this winter.  If you want to replant next spring, consider a mix of different species so you do not lose the stand to a disease or insect issue.  The plants can tolerate salt spray. Consider Baccharis halimifolia, Groundsel bush; Juniperus virginiana; American holly; Juniper species;  Chamaecyparis pisifera; Myrica cerifera and/or  pennsylvanica;  Acer rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica; and Panicum virgatum, switchgrass.
Be sure to keep the plants well watered up until the ground freezes. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and away from the base of the plants.

See our website for planting information


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