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Vermont Garden Journal: Protecting Trees And Shrubs

Al Behrman
You can reduce deer damage on their favorite plants, such as yews and apples, by wrapping a tall wire cage around the bush or spraying an organic repellent such as Plant Skydd.

With the cold weather finally upon, most garden plants have gone dormant for the season. But don't get too comfortable in front of the wood stove yet. There are still a few chores to do and the most important is to protect your trees and shrubs.

Young trees and shrubs are particularly susceptible to animal damage because the critters love the tender bark and branches. Wrap tree trunks with plastic wrap to keep voles, mice and rabbits from girdling the bark. Wrap it above the normal snow line for your area and 2 inches below the ground. Remove the wrap in spring. Protect young multi-stemmed shrubs, such as blueberries, by placing small holed wire fencing around the base of the shrub.

Paint the south side of young, thin bark trees such as cherry, crabapple, honey locust and maple with a white outdoor latex paint to prevent sun scald. During cold, clear days the sun will warm the bark of young trees causing it to expand. Once the sun sets, though, the temperatures plummet quickly and the sharp contrast causes the bark to split. Split bark is an open invitation for diseases to enter your tree. Wrap evergreens, such as rhododendrons and Alberta spruce, with burlap. Drive 4 stakes around the shrub, wrap chicken wire around the stakes and burlap around the wire. Don't let the burlap touch the leaves or it will make them dry out even faster.

Reduce deer damage on their favorite plants, such as yews and apples, by wrapping a tall wire cage around the bush or spraying an organic repellent such as Plant Skydd. This Swedish product has gotten good reviews for keeping deer and other critters away for 3 to 6 months.

And now for this week's tip, mulch garlic, shallots and strawberries now for winter. Spread a 4 to 6 inch thick layer of straw, chopped leaves or hay on the bed to prevent heaving of the cloves and plants. Remove it in spring to use as mulch.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about succulent as houseplants. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Broadcast on Friday, November 7, 2014 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

The Vermont Garden Journal with Charlie Nardozzi is made possible by Gardener's Supply, offering environmental solutions for gardens and landscapes. In Burlington, Williston and

Plant Skydd
Protecting Plants in Winter

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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