How to Wrap a Shrub for Winter

Fall home maintenance involves numerous tasks—scheduling your annual furnace maintenance, cleaning the gutters, and pulling out your summer garden. You may also want to wrap any young and newly planted shrubs in your yard to prevent damage that could keep them from bouncing back in the spring. For the best results, follow this guide from our landscaping experts.

shrubs wrapped for winter

Winter Challenges

Consider that mature, hardy shrubs for your region and deciduous shrubs that lose their leaves in the winter need little extra protection besides brushing heavy snow off the branches. As for young shrubs and trees, here are the winter challenges you can combat by wrapping them in the winter:

  • Heavy snow loads weigh down branches, misshaping and damaging shrubs.
  • Dry winds “burn” conifer needles and evergreen foliage.
  • Frozen soil prevents evergreens from replacing the moisture in their leaves, which leads to defoliation.
  • Sunny, cold days can cause sunscald on the southwest side of tree trunks.
  • Frost damage can occur when bark heats up on sunny days and rapidly cools at night.
  • Deer resort to eating evergreen foliage for survival in the lean months.

Tools & Materials Needed to Wrap a Shrub

Before getting started, gather the tools and materials you need to protect your shrubs in the winter:

  • Twine
  • Burlap sack or shrub wrap
  • Paper or plastic tree wrap
  • Water and watering can

How to Wrap a Shrub for Winter

You can employ various techniques to wrap and protect conifer and broadleaf evergreen shrubs in the winter. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Wrap with twine: If heavy snow is in the forecast, bind the branches with twine. Start at the bottom and work your way up in a spiral pattern. The end result is a conical-shaped shrub that won’t catch nearly as much snow.
  • Cover with a burlap sack: After wrapping a shrub with twine, encase it in a burlap sack or commercial shrub wrap if cold, high winds are a threat. The burlap weave is wide enough that the plant can breathe, but it keeps the worst of the biting wind at bay. This covering also protects the shrub from browsing deer.
  • Wrap trunks with tree wrap: To help prevent frost damage and sunscald, encase the trunks of newly planted and thin-barked trees with paper or plastic tree wrap. Install the wrap before the first hard freeze and remove it after the last frost in spring. Don’t leave tree wrap on year-round because this gives trunk-boring insects a place to hide.
  • Water thoroughly: If an early freeze is in the forecast, water your shrubs in advance of the autumn storm. Moist soil helps prevent plants from defoliating. A drink from a watering can should do the trick.

If snow falls before you have a chance to wrap your shrubs, brush the snow off with your arms or a broom as soon as possible. However, if the plant is covered in ice after an ice storm, don’t attempt to remove it, or you could cause more harm than good.

Get Help Winterizing Your Garden

Need more help winterizing your yard? The Grounds Guys® are on it. We can assist with shrub protection, leaf removal, pruning, fertilizing, and much more. We also offer snow removal services to save your back when the next blizzard hits. To learn more, or to schedule services, please call us today and request your free job estimate.