Medicine Hat Gardener – Corinne Hoffner


There are many ways we can protect our trees, shrubs and perennials so that they survive our sometimes harsh winters.

Roots do not become dormant as quickly as stems and branches. Even those hardiness of Zone 3, severe low temperatures that may occur in early winter or late spring or when the temperature fluctuates by repeated freezing and thawing of soil can be detrimental to any root system. Moist soil holds more heat than dry soil so if the fall has been dry, water heavily before the ground freezes to prevent the root injury. Snow cover or mulch can act as insulator and keeps the soil temperature higher.

Sun scald damage occurs when the sun heats up the tree bark and then the temperature drops rapidly. You will notice the split area  on the bark usually on the south or south west side of the tree. Young trees and thin barked varieties are most susceptible. Prevention can be done by wrapping the trunk with a plastic tree guard or light coloured mesh material. This wrap will reflect the sun and keep the bark at a more constant temperature.

Foliar damage may occur on evergreens (cedars, spruce, pine and boxwood) from winter sun, wind, and foliage water loss. By building a burlap wall, it will protect it from the fluctuating day/night temperature. Spray “Wilt Pruf” to protect against moisture loss through the foliage. Read instructions for proper timing to spray.

Ensuring your trees and shrubs survive over the winter does not start in the fall. Proper watering and fertilizing throughout the growing season and eliminating as much stress as possible year round will reward you with a healthy tree, shrub or perennial.

If you have any questions for us please feel free to call us at 403-526-3447. Talk to you next month!