Top 7 Tips To Protect Your Shrubs From the Winter

Shrubs are often used to beautify someone’s yard.

And they can do that every year if you are careful to take care of your shrubs during the wintertime.

So how do you protect your shrubs from the winter?

The different steps include covering your shrubs in burlap, spreading mulch around the base of the shrubs, creating a wind carrier around the shrubs, spraying anti-desiccant on the leaves of the shrub, tying up the branches with twine, slowing down the watering of the shrubs, and not pruning after mid-summer.

Read on to find out why these tips will most likely work for you.

Why you should protect your shrubs during the winter

There are many different types of shrubs available.

Some of these shrubs are meant to survive year-round, while others prefer the warmer weather much better than the cold.

Either way, you should take proper precautions to ensure that your shrubs are taken care of during the wintertime.

Not only to protect the shrubs from the harsh winter weather but also to protect them from any animals or rodents that might think of them as food.

If you take the proper precautions now, you can essentially fulfill two purposes of protecting the shrubs from the winter, but also from any animals that might gnaw at them.

Slow down the watering of the shrubs

One of the keys to your shrubs surviving the winter is for them to go dormant.

This means that they are slowing down and not working as hard, almost like when a bear goes into hibernation.

As we slow down the watering of our shrubs, this signals to the shrubs to go into dormancy and they slow down.

This slowing down means they are not depending on the sun as much, and they are not needing as much water to survive.

Do not prune after mid-summer

The whole purchase of pruning is to stimulate new growth in your plants.

The same holds true for shrubs.

When pruning, make sure to do it before mid-summer.

If you prune your shrub after mid-summer, the shrub will begin new growth and at that point, the new growth might not be where it needs to be by winter.

This could lead to part of your shrub dying off because it didn’t have enough growth.

So avoid pruning your shrub after mid-summer and this will help to maintain the health of your shrub.

Cover your shrubs with burlap

The aspect of the winter that damages your shrubs the most is of course the cold.

And when it gets cold, the shrub does not have the warmth is needs to keep the branches alive.

If you have young shrubs, the cold just might be enough to kill the shrubs their first winter.

If you have older shrubs, they might be able to withstand the cold, but it is better to give them an extra layer of protection.

Wrapping your shrubs up in burlap gives them that protection.

Start by purchasing some burlap from your local hardware store or from Amazon.

Then, you will wrap the burlap around your shrubs, making sure that the burlap goes all the way down to the ground.

If you do not cover all the way down to the ground, then you will be exposing the base of your shrub to the winter weather, which could be the most critical and sensitive part of the shrub.

Once you have the burlap wrapped around the whole shrub, including the base, wrap some twine around the burlap and make a nice, tight knot.

The burlap not only keeps the wind away from the shrub, but it also keeps the moisture against the shrub, which your shrub may need during a wet winter.

Spread mulch around the base

In the same vein as keeping the wind and cold out by wrapping your shrub in burlap, the same concept is used for spread mulch around the base of your shrub.

The mulch gives protection to the base against the cold and wind, while also keeping any moisture found in the base exactly where it is.

Spread anywhere between 4 to 6 inches of mulch around the base of the shrub to insulate the ground.

Make sure the mulch is not directly up against the base of the shrub, as this could lead to rodents coming right up to the base of the shrub and chewing on it.

Leave at least 6 inches to a foot of space between the mulch and the base of the shrub.

Create a wind barrier

If you have quite a few shrubs and do not want to individually wrap each shrub in burlap, there is another course of action you can take.

This action is to create a wind barrier for all of your shrubs.

For this, you would still need some burlap, but you will also want to purchase some wood stakes.

Drive the wood stakes into the ground until you have at least a few inches or a foot worth of stake above the ground.

Continue to drive stakes into the ground until you have created a perimeter around the shrubs.

When the perimeter is in place, wrap the burlap around the stakes until you have gone around the whole perimeter.

Then, staple the burlap to the stakes.

This should be enough to create a wind barrier for your shrubs.

That way, the shrubs are not getting overly cold from the wind continuously hitting them.

Spray anti-desiccant on the leaves

According to

In biology and ecology, desiccation refers to the drying out of a living organism. In your landscape plants, winter desiccation injury occurs when plants lose moisture from the leaves and do not have the ability to absorb water from the frozen soil. This moisture loss may cause your plant’s leaves and stems to dry out, resulting in discoloration of leaves and even death to stems and branches.

Anti-Desiccants: Everything You Wanted to Know About Protecting your Plants During Cold Weather | Fairway Green Inc.

So desiccation is the drying out of your plants.

Drying out could be disastrous for your shrubs during the wintertime since they need water to stay alive.

During the wintertime, they won’t be getting the moisture that they typically need.

So applying anti-desiccant on the leaves of the shrubs will help keep them from drying out.

You have a few options to choose from on Amazon, which you can find here, but you can also check your local hardware store to see what they have available.

Start spraying the anti-desiccant on your shrubs in early November and then spray your shrubs again every month or so until the winter is over.

This should help your shrubs maintain the moisture they have throughout the winter season.

Tie up branches with twine

If you haven’t gone the route of wrapping up your shrubs with burlap, you still will want to take care of the branches of your shrub.

So at this point, you may need to tie up your branches with twine.

Tying them up with twine will help keep the plant warm just like the burlap would.

It also keeps the branches out of danger from someone accidentally pulling them off by walking by them.

So purchase some twine and pull the branches together and wrap them up.


You should take some steps during the winter to make sure your shrubs will last the season.

The most important parts are to protect them from the wind and also from the cold.

The steps mentioned above will help you accomplish this.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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