Gardening | 28 November 2016Taking Care of Trees and Shrubs in the Winter Share article facebook twitter google pinterest There’s something so balanced and necessary about the quietude of winter, even–and especially–for our gardens. In Prairie and Plains States Month-by-Month Gardening, Cathy Wilkinson-Barash shares helpful tips for putting shrubs and trees to bed for the winter. Prairie and Plains States Month-by-Month Gardening Caring for Trees and Shrubs in the Winter Clean and pack away the tools—another planting season is over. While storing your tools, do a quick inventory. Remember the holidays are coming and gardening tools would make a great gift to give—or receive. Finish applying winter protection to shrubs before the heavy snows arrive: Give special attention to rhododendrons, boxwood, and other broadleaf evergreens. These plants are susceptible to sunburn from reflected snow. Use a screen of burlap to cut the winter winds and shade the plants from the winter sun. Or circle the plants with a cylinder of hardware cloth several feet tall and sunk several inches into the ground. Fill with straw or evergreen branches to protect the plants. Upright junipers and arborvitae are easily damaged by heavy snow. Wrap the plants by loosely tying the stems up with strips of cloth or old stockings. Continue to prune trees and shrubs now or wait until late winter for structural and major pruning. See Appendix for detailed information on pruning. *Do not prune evergreens now; wait until spring. Prairie and Plains States Month-by-Month Gardening Cut a few of these for indoor or holiday decorating or wreath making: colorful branches (redleaf rose, red twig and yellow twig dogwoods); evergreen boughs (arborvitae, Austrian or Scotch pine, blue spruce, Canada hemlock, Eastern red cedar, firs, junipers, and yews); and fruiting or berried branches (bittersweet, bayberry, cotoneaster, crabapples, euonymus, hawthorn, snowberry, sumac, viburnum, and winterberry). Gather nuts and seed capsules (acorns, black walnut, hazelnuts, and sweetgum) to glue on for added interest. Be careful when hanging holiday lights on trees and shrubs outside. Always use lights UL listed for outdoor use. Loosely attach lights to the tree branches and trunks. Remove lights in spring before growth begins. Tightly wrapped lights can girdle a tree in one season. Use a sturdy ladder and work with a buddy. Or consider hiring a professional. Many landscape companies now install lights and other holiday decor. They have the equipment and training to do the job safely. Move live Christmas trees inside to a cool location just before your holiday celebration. Place a container-grown tree on a large saucer and a balled-and-burlapped one in a large tub. Keep roots moist. Even a container-grown Christmas tree will not thrive indoors. Have a planting hole ready to move it into right after the holiday. Prairie and Plains States Month-by-Month Gardening After a week to 10 days, move the tree to a screened-in porch or unheated garage for several weeks to allow it to adjust to the cold outdoor temperatures. Any longer inside and the tree may break bud and begin growing. If the tree does start to grow, you will have an indoor evergreen tree to decorate for Valentine’s Day, Easter, and May Day. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Gardeners living in the wide-open Prairie and Plains states need this guidebook on their bookshelves–it’s bound to get smudged with dirt from constant reference! Growing annuals, perennials, and edibles on the great plains or in windy prairie country can yield flat-out beautiful gardens–provided you know the best gardening tricks to tackle each month! Prairie and Plains Month-by-Month Gardening is the ideal guidebook for home landscapers and gardeners living in the Prairie and Plains states (Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa). Falling in step with Cool Springs Press’s regional garden series, the book streamlines planting and growing information by grouping timing tips and how-to advice according to months of the year, from the harsh, cold winters to the hot, humid summers. This chronological organization makes the book easy for readers to navigate quickly and offers invaluable troubleshooting tips from gardening expert Cathy Wilkinson Barash. Prairie and Plains Month-by-Month Gardening also includes fully illustrated how-to information via step-by-step gardening instructions, helping home gardeners and landscapers become masters of their garden domains. Throughout the book, gorgeous photography provides inspiration and ideas, and a comprehensive formatted calendar, replete with planting information, urges gardeners to plan ahead. So, roll up your sleeves; it’s time to transform that wide-open space into the garden you’ve always wanted. Cathy Wilkinson Barash is a lifelong organic gardener. She has written many books but is best known as the author of Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate, which Martha Stewart described as “very excellent.” Recently, she moved to an apartment in a historic building near downtown Des Moines and started growing–mostly tomatoes and edible flowers–in large containers outdoors. She experiments with growing vegetables and fruit indoors to harvest through the winter. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.