The colder temperatures, blowing winds and snow will begin soon. Chicagoans must once again brace themselves for a cold winter. While we can’t do much about Chicago winters, we can help protect our evergreen trees and shrubs through the winter months.

Whereas deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves in the winter, evergreens retain foliage and protect themselves through the winter with a variety of natural protection mechanisms. Even with these natural protection mechanisms in place, evergreen trees and shrubs are susceptible to winter water loss and frost damage. A warm sunny day during the dormant period can deceive the evergreen and valuable moisture evaporates from the plant. Soil moisture is typically lacking or unavailable during the winter, putting undue stress on the evergreen’s plant root system. In addition, evergreens in areas exposed to extreme weather conditions or salt spray from nearby roads are especially susceptible to moisture loss and winter damage.  Symptoms of moisture loss or winter damage don’t necessarily appear immediately. Damage may not become apparent until the next growing season. Brown, dead needles and brittle twigs and buds are all possible indicators of a desiccated or dehydrated evergreen.  If not treated, these symptoms will cause the overall decline in appearance and health of the evergreen. The evergreen may not recover from the damage done during the winter.

One method of preventing winter water loss and protecting evergreens during harsh winter temperatures is applying an anti-transpirant spray in late fall, typically in November. Kramer Tree Specialists uses an anti-transpirant that forms a barrier over the needles or foliage and minimizes water loss, which protects the evergreen during the winter months. Cedar, Spruce, Arborvitae, Juniper, Boxwood and Pine trees are just a few examples of evergreen varieties that can benefit from an anti-transpirant spray.

Contact the Plant Health Care Department at KTS to have your evergreens evaluated by a Certified Arborist and to get on the schedule this year. Our trained specialists can recommend the appropriate treatment options to keep your evergreens and landscape happy and healthy.

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