The Q&A Archives: Winter tree preparation

Question: What can I do to prepare my newly planted (April/May) arborvitaee trees for winter? My lilac tree leaves are turning brown. What can I do?

Answer: In cold climates, it's important to provide winter protection for Arborvitae. Snow and ice buildup can damage or break individual branches, or the whole tree. Shrub protection against foraging deer, rabbits and rodents is also important.

Many people use burlap to cover the plants. It's effective, but unsightly. It can also cause mold and mildew on the plant. Another alternative is heavy duty, multi-strand netting. The netting is made of UV protected material, and will last for years. Selecting a green netting results in a barely visible protection against animals, as well as protection from breakage of individual branches. when snow and ice buildup is a problem.

The one disease problem that plagues Lilacs is Pseudomonas syringae or Lilac Blight. Symptoms are brown leaf tips or leaf edges, flowers and stems. Prune out affected areas and clean pruning shears with a 70% alcohol solution between cuts. In the fall, clean up fallen leaves from the infected Lilacs to stop over wintering of the blight. Planting your Lilac where it will receive good air circulation also helps.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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