What with January turning cold and nearly snowless, many so-called evergreens did not live up to their name! Here’s how to handle your Japanese holly, rhododendron and leucothoe.

Rhododendron sprayed with anti-dessicant

 

Sometimes it is best to adopt the “wait and see” attitude instead of pruning out all the burned pieces immediately. Often these plants will push new buds out of their framework of stems just below the browned out leaves. If you prune too hard too early, the plant’s structure will be destroyed. Not to say that we don’t ever do some shearing back on these plants. We’ll plan to topdress the damaged ones with compost and a special organic fertilizer blend for broadleaf evergreens to encourage strong, new green growth.

Signing up for our anti-desiccant spray program in November can help protect these somewhat vulnerable plants against damaging winter conditions. Might I suggest leaving a layer of leaves on your garden beds next fall, just in case a snowless cold winter happens again? Don’t let someone blow all your beds bare of any kind of mulch or winter protection. And some of you are experimenting with little pop-up tents that breathe and cover small plants during unpredictable winters. These are all good strategies to help prevent winter desiccation.
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