Winter hibernation of conifers: how to protect plants from frost

Not a single plot can do without coniferous crops. It is they who give a picturesque view of the territory in winter, when all deciduous stand naked, and flower beds - empty. There are so many varieties and types of conifers that it is possible to create whole compositions, the decorativeness of which will be high in any season. But there is one caveat: not all conifers equally tolerate winters. If seedlings were brought from Europe, where the climate is much milder than Russian and even Ukrainian, there is a possibility of severe damage to the crown and freezing of the roots. How to avoid this - we will understand in more detail.

How to check the winter hardiness of conifers?

You can reduce the likelihood of winter troubles to zero already at the stage of buying seedlings. If you buy thuja, spruce, juniper in domestic nurseries, where they grew for several years in the same climatic conditions as in your area, then the problems with winter hardiness will disappear. Weak crops freeze already in the first year after planting in the nursery, so they simply do not reach the shelves.

But more often we get planting stock in the market, where it is impossible to verify whether the seller gave accurate information about the growing conditions of the seedlings. And even if all the plants were grown in the local climate, there is no guarantee that they were not overfed with nitrogen fertilizers to accelerate growth. And an excess of nitrogen significantly reduces the immunity of crops and leads to freezing.

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Therefore, the owners themselves should take care of conifers, preparing them for hibernation in late autumn.

In small areas, different types of dwarf pine coexist perfectly, which stands out for its winter hardiness and ability to withstand snow loads

Among the crops that are damaged more than others in winter, tueviks, firs (except Siberian and Vichy), metasequoia, cypresses and cypress trees are the leaders. In areas with a harsh climate, it is better not to plant these crops or tune in to the fact that every winter they will have to be protected from frost.

In the list of the most unpretentious coniferous plants, appear:

  • Spruce (except East and Brever);
  • Cedars;
  • Larch (except Western);
  • Pines (except Thunberg);
  • Junipers (except Turkestan and Zeravshan);
  • Tsugi;
  • Western thuja.

The remaining varieties must be selected taking into account the duration and severity of your winters.

An overview of the best varieties of ornamental shrubs for arranging the garden here: //

Rules for preparing plants for wintering

Autumn water recharge irrigation

Despite minus temperatures, life processes in conifers do not stop, but only slow down their course. Therefore, trees and shrubs must be prepared for winter, taking into account this circumstance.

Before the onset of the first frosts (approximately the end of November) spend the last abundant watering of conifers. For each crop, up to a meter pour 2 buckets of water, and above a meter - from 3 to 5. In this way, you will provide plants with a supply of moisture for the over-spring period. At the end of February, when the sun begins to bake, the crown of conifers comes to life and requires nutrition and moisture from the roots. And if it is not enough in the soil, then frost binds the earth to a great depth. The roots cannot take water, so the needles become dry and easily burned by scorching rays.

Watering is especially necessary:

  • one-year-old and two-year-old seedlings that have not developed a strong root system;
  • rare breeds of conifers with poor winter hardiness;
  • plants whose crown has been shaped and sheared this season.

If there are coniferous trees grown using the bonsai technique or with a topiary haircut on the site, they need a thorough shelter from the snow

Phosphorus-potassium dressing

In order for young branches of conifers to mature by the beginning of winter, it is necessary to properly feed the plants. Already in August, exclude all fertilizers that contain nitrogen. It provokes a rapid growth of green mass, and this will greatly weaken the immune system. It is useful in September to introduce a mixture of potassium and phosphorus into the soil. Thus, you will accelerate the lumbering of branches and strengthen the root system.

Mulching young plants

A necessary condition for a healthy wintering for rare and non-resistant coniferous varieties is mulching. The ideal mulch is wood bark. It is large, it allows oxygen to flow to the roots and, when the temperature rises, does not prevent excess vapors from leaving the earth. With this mulching, the plants will never be sprinkled, as is the case with sawdust.

Adult conifers or those that were purchased at a local nursery - do not sprinkle with mulch. They will cope with winter and without shelter.

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Hassle in the winter months

If you took the previous tips into account, it means that in the winter your pets will feel quite comfortable, but the care does not end there. Winter weather brings many surprises, and we must deal with them in time.

Surprise One: Heavy Snow

Sometimes in winter heavy snowfalls occur. Wet snow settles heavily on conifers, causing fractures of skeletal branches and breaking off thin ones. If your pet is covered with a sticky and wet snow cap - do not try to shake it off by tilting branches or shaking the trunk. At this time, the bark and branches are so fragile that you will provoke cracking. It is necessary to wrap the end of the board with a soft cloth and pry off with it each branch of an adult tree, carefully swinging up and down. Shake all branches in the access area of ​​your growth with a stiff brush or a broom, leading from the tips to the trunk.

The crown of spherical and columnar varieties can be saved by tying it with twine. Just do not squeeze the branches, so as not to disturb the circulation of juices. The twine should press the crown firmly against the trunk, but not crush it.

The twisted crown becomes compact and dense, not letting snow pass in the middle, which helps to survive the winter without breaks

Surprise Two: Freezing Rain

With the contrast of day and night temperatures, the branches of the trees can become covered with ice crust. It has sufficient weight, tilting its paws and threatening the safety of the plant. You won’t be able to shake off such beauty, as it sticks tightly to the needles. In this case, the props that you used in the summer to support fruit trees will help out. Substitute them under all branches that are bent too low to protect from breaks. It remains to wait for a sunny day, so that the ice crawls under the rays of itself.

Surprise Three: Gusty Wind

In some areas, there is a squally wind in winter. It is not dangerous for stunted, dwarf trees or creeping shrubs, but vertical thuja, tall cedar or spruce can easily be rotated with a root (especially on light sandy loamy soils).

If weather forecasters announced a storm warning - be safe by putting stretch marks. They are of two types: with fixation to the stakes and anchor type.

The essence of the first option is that from four sides near the tree thick stakes are driven into the ground, the height of which is more than half the height of the trunk. Twine extends from each support to the trunk. It is tied not on the bare bark, but pre-wrapped with a roofing material in the trunk or put a wooden block in the place of tying. True, it is not always possible to drive stakes into frozen ground in winter, therefore, conifers from the autumn, especially recently transplanted large-sized ones, strengthen this way.

Using the anchor extension, you can not only protect the tree from gusts of wind, but also make it grow strictly vertically

The second type - anchor - involves the installation of steel braces, which are attached to the tree at one end, and are pulled onto the anchor with the other. Anchors should be located outside the root system. To protect the trunk from steel, it is necessary to wrap the tree with a dense burlap, and use wooden linings on top of it.

Surprise Four: February Sun

By the end of winter, even the most persistent conifers run the risk of freezing, or, conversely, sunbathing. At this time, the weather is unstable, and often the sun shines so brightly for days that it provokes an early awakening of the roots. They begin to actively feed the crown, expecting soon warmth, and then the so-called return frosts can descend. You can’t stop sap flow, but you can cover the crown with a thick non-woven material, such as lutrasil, or at least put linen sacks of potatoes on young seedlings.

To prevent early thawing of the earth, mulch it with sawdust. Their white color will reflect the sun's rays, and the roots will not awaken so quickly. But with the onset of stable heat, the sawdust must be immediately removed so that the plant does not vomit.

Without shelter with lutrasil or other non-woven material, the crown of many rare conifers may not stand the test of severe frost

Another danger lies in the sun's rays, which burn tender young needles. Therefore, at the end of winter, all annual seedlings and exotic conifers cover with shields from the south or completely cover the crown with burlap.

It is undesirable to protect the conifers from the sun with non-woven material, since it accumulates heat and can increase the drying of the needles.

To protect from the February sun, you can use burlap or agrofiber, which creates a soft twilight inside the shelter and restrains the drying of needles

Do not worry if some plants turn yellow in winter. So junipers and tsugi react to cold. In spring, the color will be restored.

If you carried out all the security measures on time, the conifers will quickly recover from hibernation and will please with their decorative effect.


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