Many people are not the biggest fan of chilly weather. Weather conditions affect us all, so why wouldn’t it affect our gardens? Plants like hedges are living too, which is why, like us, a majority of them suffer in the winter.
We brace ourselves for the cold in autumn as the temperature drops; when protecting your hedges, the same concept applies. The main cause of winter damage to plants is through them drying out; because of the conditions, the ground freezes, which makes it impossible for roots to find water from the soil, so they take in water that is stored in their leaves. Because of this evergreen hedges can suffer, due to retaining their leaves all year round. Unlike deciduous plants which lose their leaves during winter, evergreen plants don’t shed their leaves, which can mean they turn brown and begin to dry out the rest of the plant.
An effective way to protect hedges in harsh winter conditions is to cover hedges and shrubs that are at risk in protective wrapping; this can range from different materials such as fleece, bracken, straw, and polystyrene. You can also apply a thick layer of mulch at the base of your hedges. The protective wrapping is intended for vulnerable plants but can also be applied to tougher greenery. Protective wrapping prevents the foliage from going brown and general wilting through insulation, while the thick layer of mulch helps to hydrate and give heat to the plants.
Another way to successfully protect your hedges is to apply an anti-desiccant spray. The spray helps to keep moisture by creating a layer of protective coating, which reduces excess moisture escaping from the leaves. Most anti-desiccant sprays are biodegradable, and as they wash away and wear off by spring this makes them an ideal choice for protecting hedges. Ideal conditions in which to apply the spray are on a day with a temperature of 4-10°C, and don’t forget to coat your hedges from head to toe as moisture can escape from the tops and bottoms of leaves.
While most evergreen hedges and shrubbery are at risk during the colder months, hedges similar to Hazel, Christmas Tree and Sarcococca (otherwise known as Sweetbox) are less likely to suffer in comparison to Boxwood, Escallonia, and Griselinia hedging. We wouldn’t leave anything living out in the cold, so look after your hedges and shrubs this winter and they’ll reward you with a beautiful garden in spring!