Even though shrubs are very hardy plants, you still need to take care of them during the winter to make sure they are healthy and strong for the spring and summer growth. The weather in the northern climates can do irreparable damage to your shrubs if they are left unprotected. Snow and ice can crack off the branches or cause the shrub to lean to one direction.
In the fall, one of the main things homeowners should do to protect their shrubs is to prune the branches. Inspect the plant to find small and weak branches that could be damaged by the elements of the weather. The thick branches that are attached to the trunk of the shrub are more able to withstand the weight of snow and ice as well as strong winds.
Strips of thin wood are great for protecting shrubs. Place them around the plant so as to form a teepee structure. This will ensure that all of the plant has protection and that it won’t be laden down with any weight, nor will it feel the full effects of the precipitation. If you have the shrubs planted near the house where run-off from the eaves can cause damage to them, placing a rooflike structure over them will give them the protection that they need.
During the winter, the ground around the shrubs will become hard and frozen preventing the roots from obtaining the proper amount of moisture needed for spring growth. In your winter preparations, it is important to place mulch around the shrubs because this will help maintain the moisture in the ground. The mulch will also protect the roots from dramatic changes in the temperature. It will expand during the heat of the day and contract when the temperature dips down at night.
One of the best and easiest ways to make sure your shrubs are truly winterized is to wrap them in burlap. This is always available in home improvement and garden stores in the fall. Simply wrap the burlap around the shrub making sure it is fully covered. In this way, the plants are protected from frost as well as the weather.
Although spring arrives in March, the winter weather continues. You should not be too hasty in removing any coverings from the shrubs until the danger of frost has passed, which in most areas of the northern hemisphere is late May or early June.