Monday, November 1, 2021

This Month in the Garden: Care of Broad-leaved Evergreens: Fall & Winter Protection

Care of Broad-leaved Evergreens
Welcome to
This Month in the Garden! This month's post gets your garden prepared to endure those cold winter months, especially if you live in USDA hardiness zones 7 and under! Broad-leaved evergreens are a lovely addition to the landscape, but may need some special care if you live in a colder region where temperatures go below freezing! These beauties are known for their larger attractive foliage when compared to other evergreens, and more surface area means more exposure to drying winds and cold. This can cause winter desiccation, which can do damage to your plant, so it's best to be proactive.

Desiccation Explained: Have you ever noticed how some broad-leaved evergreens may look very scorched at the end of winter? Desiccation, or winter drying, is caused by extreme moisture loss from the foliage of broader leaved evergreens by the process of transpiration, mostly caused by a combination of winds and cold temperatures. Anti-desiccant spray is an organic based spray application that lasts throughout the winter, and helps to prevent this water loss from happening.


Which plants should be sprayed with an anti-desiccant?: Apply an anti-desiccant spray to your broad-leaved evergreens such as holly, Osmanthus (False Holly) euonymus, rhododendron, cherry and skip laurel, mountain laurel, Japanese skimmia, leucothoe, aucuba and boxwood.

When to Apply: Apply when the daytime temperatures start falling below 50 degrees (late fall/early winter). Be sure that the temperatures are above freezing and there is no threat of rain or frost within 24 hours. Here on Long Island (zone7), application should be done sometime before Thanksgiving.


Dangers: Be sure to read all directions on the label since anti-desiccants can cause photo toxicity on some narrow needled evergreens such as Arborvitae and Blue Spruce, leading to death of the plant. Spraying in freezing temperatures will also lead to harm.

How often should I apply anti-desiccant?:  Sudden warm spells can trigger your evergreens to open their pores allowing for more water loss. If there is a winter thaw part way through the season it is recommended to re-spray your plants but only if the temperatures are to remain above freezing for at least 24 hours. (If using a one-time application, this step is not necessary.)

Where do I purchase anti-desiccant?:The most commonly used brands of anti-desiccant are Wilt-Stop and Transfilm that can be found in nurseries and garden centers. These two brands only require one application, which will last the entire winter. When in doubt, ask your landscape professional. Now, that you are aware of the dangers of winter desiccation, be sure to practice spraying your broad-leaved evergreens, especially if they are in their first season of planting. It will not only help protect them from those cold drying winds and prevent browning of foliage, but will also prolong the lifetime of your plants.


I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for November and found these tips to be helpful. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. and 15th. of each month as I continue to share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Ruby Tuesday and Image-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up.

8 comments:

  1. So, Lee, now that we've moved back to a home with a tiny landscape garden, I appreciate you sharing the dirt on desiccation today. We just had a huge pin oak removed and I'm planning to transplant some mature, Korean boxwoods to the perimeter of the tree area to create a natural fence (we live on a corner lot). We're having the soil amended and only trying to seed some grass for now (I want to plant another tree, likely a Japanese Bloodgood next year or even 2 yrs from now), but want the boxwoods to thrive at least in the interim. Since my transplanting will be this week (pretty late), I think I may invest in one of those products. Thanks for the advice!

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    1. You are very welcome Rita and I wish you all the best in your new home, and with your new gardens and transplanting. The anti-desiccant really does help with the broad-leaved evergreens to protect them. The Japanese Bloodgood sounds nice too for the future!

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  2. Thanks for the great gardening advice, and for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2021/11/the-return-of-butterfly.html

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    1. I am happy you found the information to be useful. The temperatures are dropping quickly here, so I wanted to get the advice out. Thanks for hosting too!

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  3. Great information! This seems to be more of an issue with increasing freezes and thaws and refreezes in our changing climate. I'll look into it. Thanks!

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    1. Certainly! The weather gets a little more erratic each year here in the northeast and everywhere else, so we need to protect our plants!

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  4. Thanks for information, Lee. Here I often see spots on rhododendron leaves after winter when spring sun starts to warm them.
    Happy November.

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    1. Yes. That is from the winter drying out of the leaves and the anti-desiccant can really help prevent that. I hope this information helps you out.

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Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!

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