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End-of-Winter Landscape First Aid

March 14, 2018

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Yard on the Mend

After a rough winter, your yard will likely need a little TLC. Here's what you can do to cure some common ailments.


Sunken, Dead Tree Bark

Diagnosis: Sun scald


It occurs when normally winter-dormant tree cells get heated back into action by direct sunlight and then are killed by chilly nighttime temperatures.


Tree Bark Repair Cut away the affected bark with a utility knife, rounding off the edges. Don't cover wounds while they heal—it can encourage bacteria and fungi growth. In the fall, ward off damage by insulating the trunk with tree wrap.


Completely Uprooted Plants

Diagnosis: Frost heave


Freeze-thaw cycles cause the soil to expand and contract, pushing roots above ground, even ones that were well established.


Frost Heave Repair When the soil thaws, replant and replace the topsoil. To prevent a future upheaval, mulch around plants in the fall so that winter soil temperatures will stay more even.


Browned Evergreen Foliage

Diagnosis: Winter burn


Sunny, windy weather dries out and discolors leaves and needles, and evergreens, which don't go fully dormant, can't get the water they need from frozen soil.


Browned Needle Repair Brown foliage is likely dead, but the branches' buds may have survived. Wait for them to open, then prune away only the damage. Next fall, water evergreens deeply until the ground freezes.




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