wrapping shrub for protection

covellaNovember 13, 2005

I'm wondering if I could use landscape cloth instead of burlap for wrapping some rhodos and newly planted pieris. Probably a dumb question but I've got a couple bolts of it and no other need for it. If I staked a circle and wound the landscape cloth around the stakes it would more or less do the same thing - right?

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goodhors(z5 MI)

The dark color might warm the plant up more than you want. Encourage plant to sprout too soon or be more tender than it should be in winter cold. Burlap is light colored, bleaches even lighter with time in the sun. I certainly would wrap in your zone if I thought it would keep the buds on for bloom next year. I just would not use a dark cloth as my protective wrap.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 10:58PM
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very good point goodhors, I found a 40% off coupon on the JoAnn Fabrics website and will go get some burlap.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 11:12PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

I feel so stupid I have put off asking this question until now. My husband finally bought his dream tree an 8' Japanese Umbrella Pine this year. We were advised by the contractor who bought it for us to wrap it in burlap this winter to prevent deer damage. When I wrap the tree do I wrap it as I would an ace bandage around an ankle or do I install some stakes and wrap the burlap around those?? Thanks Katy

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 8:28PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I'm not clear why you need to wrap your shrubs. They should be fully hardy in your zone and wrapping shouldn't be necessary. If you're wrapping as protection against deer, the nearly invisible black netting works just fine.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 7:36AM
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I'm wrapping a few that were just re-planted, a Mtn Laurel that gets munched every year by deer, a rhodo that I just moved that I want to baby to make sure it doesn't get anymore broken branches, and a Pieris Valley Valentine because I'm not sure if the deer will leave it alone or not and I just planted it a week ago. The Rhodo is a Nova Zembla that I found had a messed up root system - when I took it up it had no deep or large roots at all, in fact it was one of those things you read about where the original roots seem to have turned back on and strangled each other. The newer smaller roots are all horizontal and they aren't really big enough to support the plant. The former owner had planted it maybe too deep - not sure. Anyway, netting will suffice for some of the azaleas and PJM's the deer like to eat but I'm not sure it offers enough support for the heavy wet snow we have.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 1:26PM
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i don't think how to wrap is a dumb question. I've recently invested in a lot of new conifers and was told to wrap them. So, I too would like somewhat more exact instructions about how to use the burlap. Thanks for heads up about the joann coupon.

idabean/marie.....hi katy!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 5:03PM
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When I wrapped my yew, I just wrapped the burlap around the yew and secured it with plastic clothes pins. The deer shoved some of it aside and got down on their knees to browse so the next year I drove in some stakes and wrapped the burlap around that and over the top. And pinned the bottom of it down. If you can swaddle it completely without stakes, go for it. I haven't found the netting helpful - they push their noses into it and get at it that way. But now I have a deer fence so that problem is in the past.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 7:49PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

I read that ideally the proper way to wrap it is not to let the burlap touch the foliage. That is, surround the plant with bamboo or wood stakes and attach the burlap to that. But perhaps that rule applies more to conifers that have their foliage year round than for deciduous plants.

But, I find that can be hard to do unless you really position the stakes far away from the plant and use a lot more burlap than you probably need to.

For my cedars (thuja occidentalis), I sort of do a happy medium. I angle two or three stakes around and over the plant like a teepee, and wrap the burlap around that. I call it a happy medium because the burlap does touch the foliage in some spots, but still letÂs some air circulation around the plant.

But, IÂve also done the direct burlap around the plant method and it worked just as well. Heck one year I had an small plant and even used an old pillowcase. If you are growing eastern white cedars (thuja occidentalis) just be careful to brush snow off the burlap after heavy snowfalls as this can weigh down the burlap and thereby weigh down the plant. Then again, even unwrapped they can bend after a heavy snowfall.

Another method of mine is to waiting until a good snow fall, mound snow around the plant (this insulates the root zone), then cover with a cardboard box. It works mostly for smaller conifers. I cover my dwarf Alberta spruces with styrofoam rose huts.

Some might argue that deciduous shrubs and trees donÂt benefit from wrapping but I find that it does help out of zone plants. My ginkgo biloba suffers moderate winter damage unless I wrap it for winter, then it comes through winter very well. My theory is wrapping it helps moderate the temperature around the plant (more gradual temperature swings) as well as keeps the woody branches out of the wind all winter. ThatÂs bound to make a difference for some plants.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 11:21AM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

I have heard that you're not supposed to let the burlap touch the foliage, it's supposed to be a windbreak more than anything else. April.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 6:39PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Thanks after all your good advise we have decided to wrap the burlap around stakes rather than the tree. I still need to wait a few weeks until the ground freezes and the Umbrella Pine goes dorment. I am trying Wilt Pruf (not on the pine) for the first time this year has anyone had any luck with it in the past? Katy
Hi Marie

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 4:29PM
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I spoke to a nurseryman a couple of weeks ago about how they get their plants through the winter. Although they use Wiltpruf on both needled evergreens and broadleaved, he cautioned me about applying it to conifers,etc. Said it was designed for the broadleaved plants, and to apply very sparingly to plants that are not broadleafed evergreens. I wonder if that has to do with greater leaf surface/transpiration?

If you can get a telephone number for the manufacturer, it may be worth it to give them a call.
Have an enjoyable thanksgiving, everyone.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 9:15PM
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Katy, would it be easier to use roll fencing, the wire kind? It's practically invisible, and you would need only a couple of stakes to secure it into place. Burlap not only turns into an eyesore after a few weeks, drifting snow (if we get any this year) can push it against the branches and might disfigure the tree.

I love my umbrella pine, it's about 15 years old now. We don't have deer here, so I don't know how much of a problem that is for these trees. The Mohonk Mountain House lists it as one of the plants that deer don't especially like, but I know this kind of thing varies in different places and different seasons.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 11:10PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Said it was designed for the broadleaved plants, and to apply very sparingly to plants that are not broadleafed evergreens.I wonder if that has to do with greater leaf surface/transpiration?

I the following info is from the Wilt-Pruf site although they responded to my email immediately I am still a little uneasy using it on anything but broadleaved evergreens.

WILT-PRUF spray dries to form a clear, colorless, flexible, gloss film without interfering with plant growth or materially affecting respiration, osmosis, or photosynthesis.
When spraying on arborvitae, cypress, juniper, and cedar; be aware that if these species have not sufficiently hardened off for the winter whereby moisture retreats to the root system, moisture in plant cells could freeze and burst if early severe freezing weather should occur.

To: Wilt-Pruf > After listening to a gardening radio show "Garden Club" I
> took the host's advise and sprayed my hydrangea
> macrophylia's with Wilt Pruf last week. Now everything I
> have read has led me to believe this was a serious
> mistake - zone 6/7a. Can you please let me know if Wilt
> Pruf is only to be sprayed on broadleaf evergreens. Thank
> You Katy Guerin PS do you have a complete list of plants
> that Wilt Pruf can be used on?

Hi Katy
We do not believe you will have any problem. Lots of people
spray their hydrangeas with Wil-Pruf with good sucess. We do
not have a complete list of plants that Wilt-Pruf can be
used on as the book would be too heavy to lift. Our web site
"wiltpruf.com" and our labels will give you a better idea of
a few plants to avoid, but there are not many - especially
in the winter time. If there is ever a question, spraying
one or two branches and observing the results will show you
what you need to know for the future.
Brad Nichols
Thanks for the link I thought their list of plants came very close to my experiences but of course the list of plants I lust after is much longer. I was thinking that my globe arborvitae probably looks much like a little round cream puff to the deer. But of course like everyone else I can never predict what plant will be this years deer delicacy (so far this year hydrangea macrophylla Dooley & Glowing Embers). Massive development eliminating their habitat has brought the deer closer and closer to my back yard. After being treated twice in 2005 for Lymes I am keenly aware of natures delicate balance. My county increased the deer limit this hunting season based on the tick population but I doubt that will change the tick population by any significant amount. I do have a large roll of wire fencing but I am concerned it may not be tall enough 5. I hate the idea of hiding this tree behind brown clothe for the next five months so I may have to become creative with the fencing maybe a double wide barrier hmmm. My husband is lusting after your mature umbrella pine the older they get the more beautiful they become wish I could say the same for myself.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 10:58AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I'm planning to wrap my three new Osmanthus Goshiki shrublets to protect them this winter. I drove oak stakes today, 4 for each shrublet, figuring I would wait and wrap burlap around the stakes when the weather gets nastier. We keep getting random warm days here alternating with light frost.

I have the burlap already, but it occurred to me that the leftover floating row cover I have stored away might be better. It's translucent white, very light and I could double or triple it on the sides for wind protection but put a thin layer over the top for partial shade and wind protection. I'd have to keep an eye on the top to brush snow off because it would just collapse.

Is this a good idea?


    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 2:33PM
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thanks from us all for all the good info. v. interesting.
I still don't want to do this winter chore. It didn't occur to me arborvitae would be more work!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 11:57PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

I don't know if this will help but in August 1999 I planted my 12" high Osmanthus 'Goshiki' out of pure ignornace I provided it that year and all the following years absolutely no protection. Each winter the few inches of late summer early fall growth have had wind burn to the new leaves but if you note how close together the bud unions are to one another the shrub has always been capable of quickly sprouting new leaves on that growth in the spring. I also (KNOCK ON WOOD) have observed the deer eat many companion plants and ignore the osmanthus. Good Luck Katy

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 4:46PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA


How tall is your Goshiki now? and does it flower?

I have a huge old Osmanthus heterophyllus (10 - 12' tall) that my mother planted many years ago, thinking it was a holly. It's happy here and I'm hoping the Goshiki's will join it.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 8:35PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

The Goshiki is 4'x4' in full sun with irrigation and a late winter feeding of 10-6-4. My only regret is over the years I have allowed a variety (each year something different) of deciduous shrubs/perennials to crowd/shade the Osmanthus and this has affected its overall shape so be sure to give it plenty of room. Ahh gardening regrets Ive had a few. Katy

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 9:11AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA


That sounds like about 6" per year - a reasonable growth rate.

My three shrublets are about 8", 12" and 18" now and I've left lots of room around two of them. The third has a small miscanthus nearby, but I figured I'd leave the ornamental grass there for protection this winter. Depending on how the winter goes, I may move the Goshiki in the spring to join the other two.

I'm very hopeful now that they will do fine here.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 11:02AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

It just dawned on me that I did not answer your second question (that's what I get for trying to pay bills and enjoy GW at the same time). Yes it flowers (white) but perhaps because of the blooms timing (fall), competition with companion plants, or the light colored blossom against relatively light colored leaves, I have never considered the flower much of an asset. The pink hue on the new growth is a real stand out. Goshiki - Five Colors hmmm green, yellow, white, pink, I wonder what the fifth is? Another Osmanthus is on my must have list for this spring yours sounds very happy Ill have to do some homework this winter. Katy

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 11:16AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA


I just Googled the five colors and got

Goshiki means "five colored" in Japanese and refers to the various colors found on each leaf. Cream, pink, orange, yellow and white appear as attractive spots and swirls that combine together to create an eye-catching display.

They don't mention green! I guess they just refer to the spots.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 8:26PM
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Too tired to google: what is the hardiness zone for this interesting shrub?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 11:51PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

What I've seen alternates between zone 6 and 7. I choose to believe zone 6, for purely selfish reasons.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 11:44AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I bundled up some little shrubs (3 Goshikis and 1 ilex crenata) for protection just before we got bitter cold and strong winds.

Now we are having a warm spell, temperatures in the 40's for about a week. Should I be uncovering the tops so they can get a little light for now and then re-cover them when it gets cold again?

Or should I just leave them hunkered down, sweating in the dark in their warm covers?


    Bookmark   December 26, 2005 at 10:54AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Now, four months later I have a problem with one of the four shrubs I protected.

When the weather got milder in late March/early April I removed the burlap in stages so the shrubs would be hardened off. The three Goshikis are fine - just some minor leaf damage on a few extremities. The ilex crenata looked fine also, although the leaves were maybe a little curled.

Unfortunately, the weather suddenly turned cold for a few days and the wind was fierce. Like a fool I didn't put burlap back on the ilex. The ilex got the brunt of the wind and most of the leaves are now light brown with a green tinge. The leaves show no sign of wanting to fall off and the twigs are flexible.

Last week I moved the ilex to a nice sheltered spot where it should be OK (if it lives).

I'm not sure what to do now - wait and see if new leaves sprout? Prune it way back to allow for new growth? Will the scorched leaves recover?

Any advice?


    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 5:06PM
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