An update on the burlap wrap debate. Is it the Martha effect? You've all seen how she, I mean her sherpas, undertake the arduous process of wrapping her massive collection of evergreens and boxwoods. Here in Minnesota this year I've seen more evergreens wrapped up in burlap coats than ever. I'd like to say they look cozy but so far we've had a weirdly warm winter season. Rather than feeling my nose hairs crackle in the cold I'm sweating on my morning walks, so I wonder how most evergreens are doing under those scratchy shrouds. Of course it's hard to know if it's going to be a mild winter or a polar nightmare when it's time to decide whether to wrap or not to wrap. I'm beginning to wonder if burlap for plants is becoming more of a fashion statement than plant-care technique. Tell me what you think? Good idea or bad? Are you seeing more of this procedure being used in your local landscapes?
Here's my original post...
It is often said that just as many plants are killed by too much love as a healthy dose of benign neglect. We water them too much, prune them too far and still worry that we aren't doing enough.
When I used to see evergreens around town lovingly wrapped with care, bundled in burlap for the winter, I suffered a fraction of guilt. Like a good mother , it seemed these gardeners had made sure their conifers and boxwoods had their coats, and mittens too. I wondered, was I lax, was I lazy, should I get on board this burlap train?
As often is the case in gardening, these issues are not an exact science, so the answer is, "it depends".
Everything comes back around to, "Right plant for the right place". An evergreen sited in the right location, exposure and soil, with regular watering probably won't need a winter jacket. But how many times does that happen?
And while we're at it, those anti-dessicant sprays aren't proven to provide protection again winter drying and sunscald.
Here's a link to an article in the Star Tribune that does a great job of explaining the pros and cons, as well as the times when wrapping evergreens for cold weather is the right thing to do. Check it out and see if your evergreens are a candidate for winter coats.