Autumn Shrub Care Tips

Now’s The Time To Protect Your Shrubs From Severe Winter Conditions

Many shrubs, especially broadleaf evergreens like hollies, boxwood, laurels and rhododendrons, can be easily damaged by brutal winter weather. Instead of lush green leaves, you end up with crispy brown ones.

To help you protect your valuable shrubs from severe winter conditions, just follow these autumn shrub care tips.

Fertilize In Fall

Shrub treatment by OPC at Trump National Golf Course

Shrub treatment by OPC at Trump National Golf Course

Properly mineralized and balanced soil improves root development, nutrient and sugar translocation, water uptake and release, disease/insect resistance and winter hardiness.  In other words, if you fertilize shrubs in fall, they’ll be better able to handle whatever winter throws at them.

Check out our Plant & Soil Biotics program. It includes a complete soil analysis (so we know exactly what amendments your soil needs to keep shrubs healthy) and both spring and fall fertilization and compost tea applications.

Use Compost Tea To Spray Leaves & Drench Soil

Compost tea helps build a healthy Soil Food Web that, along with good soil organic matter, improves soil’s water-holding capabilities. By applying compost tea in fall, you’ll help ensure your shrubs have enough moisture to make it through winter.

Spray Broadleaf Evergreens with Anti-Desiccant

Holly with anti-desiccant winter protection

Holly with anti-desiccant winter protection

You’ve probably seen rhododendrons, laurels and boxwood with brown, crispy leaves in spring. But you can help prevent that from happening by applying an anti-dessicant spray in late fall.

Plants respire, or release water through their leaves, as a byproduct of photosynthesis.  Since evergreens keep their leaves, they continue to lose water through their leaves during the winter. When exposed to drying winds, severe drought periods or when the ground is completely frozen (as it often is during NJ and PA winters), they may have difficulty replacing that water loss.  The end result is brown and dehydrated foliage or needles.

Depending on the severity of the winter, one or two applications of Wilt-Pruf organic anti-desiccant spray helps reduce some of the moisture loss and resulting winter burn.

Protect Shrubs From Deer Browsing

Winter protection will save your shrubs from browsing by hungry deer.

Winter protection will save your shrubs from browsing by hungry deer.

During severe winters, deer will eat just about anything, even shrubs that are toxic.  Monthly deer repellent sprays are highly effective in deterring deer browsing during the peak months of December through March.  We rotate our products to keep deer from developing a tolerance.

For best protection, you’ll want to start applying deer spray in late fall.

If you’d like us to take a look at your shrubs and recommend the best approach to keep them healthy this winter, just give us a call.  We’re happy to provide you with a free property analysis and quote.

Bill Grundmann

Bill is the owner of Organic Plant Care, LLC. He takes an integrated approach to tree care, focusing not only on the trees themselves but also on the surrounding environment, managing tree health from the "ground up" - healthy soil equals healthy plants. Bill is a New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert and NJ Approved Forester with over 35 years of experience in the tree care industry.