For people living in cold climates, a sunny, warm day that interrupts an otherwise gloomy winter is something to look forward to.
For evergreens in cold climates? Well...sunny winter days aren’t so sweet. Harsh sun actually works against evergreens in winter. Come springtime, these endlessly green plants might turn brown from the damage.
Below, find out why your evergreen shrubs may not have gotten off to a good start in spring.
Winter burn sounds pretty straightforward, but what exactly does it mean?
Here’s the gist—evergreen shrubs, unlike other plants, hold on to their foliage in winter, and it takes tons of moisture to keep their needles green throughout the season. Anytime bright sun or harsh wind is in the forecast, the needles lose moisture, and since the ground is frozen, plant roots just can’t take up enough water from the soil to replace that lost moisture. Eventually, the needles get way too dry, causing winter burn.
Winter burn starts with the tips of shrub needles turning brown, and then eventually full needles on a whole section of the tree are brown and dry.
Not surprisingly, the discolored section appears on the side of the plant that gets the most sun or wind throughout winter. But that doesn’t mean winter burn is immediately obvious. Evergreen shrubs might look green and healthy leading up to spring, and then start to turn brown just as the growing season arrives.
Odds are, an evergreen shrub that has winter burn will bounce back. Even though brown chunks might make the plant look dead, your shrub will more than likely sprout new needles.
To be sure, prick a small area of an affected branch with your fingernail or a pocket knife. It should be green and moist underneath. Any branches that are still green under the bark are alive and can grow new needles. If any branches are brown and dry underneath, you should prune those out.
Lastly, make sure your shrubs get lots of water throughout spring. They’ll thank you with a flush of new green needles!
Kudos to you for thinking ahead! Yes, there are steps you can take to protect your shrubs.
Here are four things you should do to prevent evergreen winter burn: