How to Burlap Shrubs For Winter

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Protect shrubs from winter damage by covering them in burlap.
Protect shrubs from winter damage by covering them in burlap. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The harsh winter sun, falling temperatures, cold wind, rain and snow severely damage landscape shrubs. These natural elements desiccate evergreen foliage, damage bark and kill or injure young branches. While some plants become dormant or die in the winter, only to return in spring, others are susceptible to the cold and require immediate protection when temperatures start to fall. Wrap your garden shrubs in burlap to protect them during winters, and remove the covering in spring when the weather starts to warm up again.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Organic mulch
  • Rope or twine
  • Scissors
  • Coarse burlap

Trim shrubs to remove weak, damaged or dead branches before covering them in burlap. Cut the branch to where it connects to the live, healthy shoot so it produces fresh growth in spring. Use sharp, sterilized pruning shears.

Snip off low-hanging branches on the shrub, or those that sweep the ground, so the plant requires fewer resources during the winter months. Removing these branches also reduces the weight on the shrub.

Spread a 3- to 4-inch-thick layer of organic mulch such as dried leaves or bark around the shrub, 4 inches from the main stem. The mulch insulates the ground during the winter, protects the roots from fluctuations that temperature and prevents weeds from growing there. Spread it 2 feet around the shrub, in a large circle.

Cut two lengths of rope or twine long enough to encircle the top and bottom of the shrub after you cover it with burlap. You can cut an additional one for the middle of the shrub that is tall or wide.

Position one end of the burlap at the top of the shrub and wrap it around the entire plant in a spiral motion, covering it at least three times for adequate protection. Make sure you cover the entire shrub length, from top to bottom. Position the shrub’s branches in their natural direction while wrapping them so they do not break. Tuck the ends in the lowest branches.

Cut a length of burlap into a long, narrow strip if the previous length falls short and the lower end of the shrub remains exposed. Wrap this strip over the lower part of the shrub in a spiral motion at least three times. Overlap the upper edge of this sheet and the lower end of the previous sheet by 4 to 6 inches to prevent any cold winds from seeping through the gap. Tuck the end of the burlap under the lowest branches to cover all the foliage.

Wind the lengths of rope or twine around the top and bottom of the shrub, directly over the burlap. Pull each length taut so its stays in place during the cold winter months and prevents the burlap from coming loose. Tie each length in a double knot.

References

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