How to Properly Cover Trees and Shrubs
If you have warm season turf, you probably already retired the mower for the season. That means it’s time to start thinking about the other side of your Atlanta lawn care regimen, namely caring for your ornamental trees and shrubs this winter. Many of your plants are capable of enduring changes in Atlanta’s weather conditions. However, some need extra protection, especially from the roller coaster of temperatures we’re prone to experiencing. Less hardy plants, like citrus, are more susceptible to damage, as are potted plants since their roots are more exposed. Here are our top tips for covering and caring for your trees and shrubs during deep freezes:
- Do not use black plastic. Cloth materials are preferable to plastic since they won’t trap moisture. Consider using burlap, sheets, or a specialty material. Even a cardboard box turned upside down can provide basic wind and cold protection.
- Remove the covering as soon as the sun rises to avoid creating a greenhouse effect.
- Anchor the covering to the ground using rocks or dirt so it won’t move and expose the plants.
- Protect plants in containers by wrapping their bases together with blankets or burlap to help retain heat.
- Water your plants before a forecasted freeze. Moist soil helps your plants maintain a higher temperature around the roots.
- Freshen your mulch. A new layer of mulch one to three inches deep will help regulate the soil temperature by retaining moisture.
Covering your plants will help capture the heat given off from the ground, providing enough extra warmth for your plants to make it through a frigid night. With a cover, a healthy layer of mulch, and continued winter watering, your plants should be amply protected from freeze damage and you won’t have to worry about them flourishing again once spring arrives.