Despite the widely held belief that the gardening season ends with the first frost and leaf drop, many important yard chores remain as we head towards the middle of November. You may be familiar with the concept of “winterizing’ plants to ensure their survival, but what exactly does that mean?
Due to their lack of cold hardiness or their location in the landscape, many plants may need a helping hand to endure the extremes of a typical New England winter. This is particularly true for plants installed this year, and especially any evergreen transplanted this fall. Moisture loss through foliage on evergreens after the ground has frozen results in winter desiccation injury, which is the browning and leaf loss that can make the landscape appear so shabby in the spring. This problem can be lessened by winterizing these shrubs with burlap screens and/or the timely application of Wilt-Pruf, a natural pine oil emulsion that is non-hazardous, organic, and biodegradable. It is not damaged by freezing during storage; it has an indefinite shelf life, and is non-toxic to eyes and skin. Wilt-Pruf spray dries in daylight to form a clear multi-layered flexible protective polymerized coating without interfering with plant growth or materially affecting respiration, osmosis, or photosynthesis.
Wilt-Pruf protects many types of valuable shrubs and ornamentals. Broadleaf evergreens have a natural ability to survive when normal water intake through the root system is curtailed during drought or when the ground is frozen, but if the plants have been recently transplanted or if they are exposed to severe drying winds or extreme conditions, they may not have enough moisture built up in their foliage to survive long periods without absorbing water. Wilt-Pruf gives them the added protection they need during these long or severe periods of water stress.
Apply this product as late in November as possible to allow plants to enter dormancy and to ensure that the protective oil coating lasts through late winter when damaging winds are still a threat. Keep an eye on the long-range weather forecasts to be sure the material gets sprayed on before the deep freeze sets in. Wilt-Pruf needs above freezing temperatures for at least a few hours in order to dry properly and to avoid damaging foliage.