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At What Price Protection?

Report From An Opinionated Gardener – October 30

I got a request for my opinion about winter protection from the All Experts site today. A new home owner wanted to know if he needed to wrap his evergreens in burlap for the winter as the previous owners had done. I explained that yes, there may have been good reason for the wrapping in the past. The shrubs were down near the road where piles of snow or salt spray might have been damaging. Perhaps the shrubs were new last year, I explained, so the owners were feeling extra protective, or maybe their landscapers just sold them on this service and they decided to take the professional’s advice.

Then I went on to say that every gardener must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of winter protection. The love of a special plant must be balanced by the work and expense of creating a barrier. We must also ask ourselves if we really want to look at mummified plants for four or five months.

The bottom line for me, however, is that if most plants in my garden can’t make it in the place where I’ve placed them, then I’ve chosen the wrong plants for that location. If plowed snow is an issue, I shouldn’t put shrubs in that area where they will get dumped on and mashed. If the road is being salted in the winter, I am stupid to place plants nearby that will be harmed by salt spray. Basically, I view burlap wrapping as an initial failure to put the right plant in that location.

There is a point when “the cure” is a coverup for having made the wrong decision in the first place.

On the eve of Halloween, some scary foundation plantings.

4 Responses to “At What Price Protection?”

  1. 1

    Hear, here, WholeLifeGardening !

    And then there’s the proper wrapping technique and material — next year, put the time to wrap toward canning something or holiday lights, and the material cost towards an appropriate new plant — and move the old one! Promise ?

  2. 2
    Denise Schreiber:

    I wrap some of my plants that are deer favorites. Spraying only works if I can get to the plant periodically to spray again. Last winter, digging through 4 ft. of snow was not an option. Our deer pressure is about 220 deer per square mile, making them more common than roving cats and dogs. I also wrap some to help them keep shape from heavy snow fall.

  3. 3

    I attended your lecture last April that the master gardeners put on and I remember the photo you took of some wrapped evergreens…I know exactly where those plants are and when I drove by there in the spring they looked horrible…moral of story…wrapping and living with that eyesore for the fall/winter/spring does not insure the plant will survive…best to let Darwinian survival of the fittest take over…

  4. 4
    Whole Life Gardening » Delighting The Eye:

    [...] the end of October I wrote somewhat of a rant about the practice of wrapping plants in burlap for the winter. At what price protection, was the [...]