Seasonal care of trees & shrubs: Stem and branch protection
The stems of landscape trees and shrubs may need protection from animals or mechanical equipment, especially during the winter months. Animal damage (feeding or rubbing) can be avoided by placing wire mesh or hardware cloth at least 3” from the stem. Mechanical damage (e.g. lawn mower or weed whip abrasion) can be avoided when a mulch ring (see mulch) or a plastic guard is in place. The plastic guard should only encase the portion of the lower stem that is most likely to be damaged by lawn equipment. As the tree grows the plastic guard will need to be removed and replaced in order to prevent girdling or stem constriction.
Branch and Foliage Protection
Ice and snow loading damage can be severe during cold, wet winters on multi-stemmed evergreen trees and shrubs (e.g. junipers, arborvitae, and yews). The overall form of the plant can be protected when the branches are secured with twine or burlap. Read page 3 of the below publication for more information. In order for the tree to resume normal growth remove the twine or burlap by spring.
For more information: Protecting Trees and Shrubs from the Wicked Winters of the Upper Midwest (.pdf).
More information on each step:
- Seasonal care: Overview
- Evergreen branches
- Evergreen shrub shearing
- Deciduous branches
- Staking / guying
- Stem, branch, and foliage protection
Authored by Rebecca Koetter, Gary R. Johnson, and Dave Hanson: University of Minnesota
Funded in part by USDA Forest Service: Northeastern Area
Chart designed by Andrew Rose: www.handeye.us
Download & print your own poster or magnet copy of the “Seasonal Care for Trees and Shrubs in Northern U.S. Climates”
- Poster: 8.5″ x 11″ size (.pdf) – 408 KB
- Poster: 22″ x 28″ size (.pdf) – 16.77 MB – VERY LARGE!
- Magnet: 4″ x 7″ size (.pdf) – 560 KB
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