Ask the Experts: Tips for Winter Shrub Covers and Protection

Our garden expert talks about how to protect shrubs from heavy snow and cold weather in winter, including how to use winter shrub covers.

Winter Shrub Covers and Protection

Question: Which shrubs should I cover for winter, and what’s the best way to protect them? —Robin Evans of Export, Pennsylvania

Melinda: Broadleaf evergreens are the most susceptible to winter damage in colder regions like yours. Hemlocks, less hardy and newly planted needled evergreens, and shrubs exposed to drying winds and winter sun also benefit from protection. Create a wind break and a bit of shade with burlap or landscape fabric. Mount the fabric on stakes or posts placed on the windy and sunny side of the plants. Other options include decorative fencing, a pop-up plant protector or a winter shrub cover.

One other possibility: Repurpose a Christmas tree. Place the discarded tree so that it blocks the wind from sensitive plants. You may find that birds enjoy the added winter shelter, too! Further reduce winter damage to shrubs by keeping them healthy throughout the growing season. And lastly, water your shrubs thoroughly before the ground freezes.

(Read more: 9 small evergreens shrubs to grow)

Each month, Birds & Blooms readers send in their questions to gardening expert, Melinda Myers, who is a nationally known, award-winning garden expert, TV/radio host and author of more than 20 books.

Got a gardening question for Melinda? Submit your questions here! They may appear here or in a future issue of the magazine.

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Melinda Myers
Melinda Myers is a nature and gardening writer whose specialty is attracting wildlife, especially birds, to the garden. She contributes regularly to the magazine Birds & Blooms, and lectures widely on creating gardens that please both human and avian visitors.