Kane Landscapes

Winter Wilt Prevention

During this winter season, many landscapes in the Northern Virginia area will rely on evergreen trees and shrubs to lend color to the environment. Ranging from dark glossy green to pale ice blue, the leaves and needles of these plants are not only beautiful, but also an important part of the intricate system that makes up the plant. Unfortunately, the cold, dry air common this time of year can damage or even kill plant foliage.

Normal Plant Cell

Water is very abundant inside a normal plant cell

Normally quite full of water, a plant’s leaves can become dehydrated when the humidity and temperature in their environment causes water to move from inside the leaf to the outside air. This process, called desiccation, can result in a tree or shrub that no longer has healthy leaves.

Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem. By correctly applying an anti-transpirant film to the leaves or needles of a plant, we can create a barrier which will prevent water from escaping the outer layer of the leaf into the air. Made from natural pine oil emulsions, this film barrier is an organic, non-hazardous, and biodegradable chemical compound that provides a clear, protective coating.

Boxwood Winter Damage

A boxwood hedge shows signs of winter damage from dessication

Typically, evergreen trees and shrubs will need to be treated for the first 2-3 years after planting, or until they are established, in order to obtain the best results. However, during very cold years, additional treatments may be recommended.

Deciduous trees can also have some winter issues. Sunscalding is caused when thin barked trees (typically facing south) are warmed by the low-hanging sun during the day and cooled very quickly during the winter nights.

Sunscald Damage on Maple Trunk

Sunscald damage on a maple trunk has caused a split

This warming and freezing causes expansion and contraction, which, in turn, can cause the bark to split. Split bark will likely heavily contribute to the decline of the tree since it allows a pathway for insects, fungi, and bacteria to attack it. Sunscalding can be prevented in many cases by wrapping the trunk of the tree with a fabric or plastic to help insulate the tree and reflect the sun’s heat.

Fortunately for our clients and neighbors, Kane Landscapes provides both anti-transpirant applications and tree wrapping. If you or someone you know are interested in either of these services, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help!


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