How to Protect Shrubs


Newly planted shrubs have yet to develop an extensive root system. Since they are not completely established, they require a little extra protection from winter's harsh elements for the first few seasons. Without protection, the bright winter sun and strong winds can desiccate the leaves of evergreen shrubs or kill the buds of deciduous shrubs. Protect the shrubs before soil freezes for the winter.

Step 1

Water the shrubs to keep the soil moist in the fall until the ground freezes. Well-hydrated shrubs will endure winter better.

Step 2

Tie up the branches of the shrubs with twine. By bringing them together, they have less leaf area exposed to the cold. This reduces transpiration and prevents desiccation. Tying them up also prevents them from breaking under heavy snow loads.

Step 3

Pound four stakes into the ground around the shrub. The stakes should form a square or rectangular pattern with the shrub in the middle.

Step 4

Wrap burlap around the outside of the stakes and secure it to the stakes with staples. This will keep the shrub from suffering from winter winds and burning in the winter sun.

Step 5

Insulate the ground around your shrub by filling the burlap enclosure in with a 4-inch layer of mulch or leaves. This will keep the tender roots from freezing solid during harsh temperatures.

Step 6

Spray an anti-desiccant spray on your shrubs once a month beginning in November. Follow the directions on the spray and only spray when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This will put a protective barrier on the leaves and slow down transpiration.

Tips and Warnings

  • Remove protection right away in the spring when the temperature warms. Leaving protection on too long may damage the shrub as it begins to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Stakes
  • Hammer
  • Burlap
  • Staples
  • Staple gun
  • Anti-desiccant spray
  • Pump-up sprayer
  • Wood or leaf mulch


  • This Old House: How to Winterize Shrubs
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Protecting Trees and Shrubs Against Winter Damage
Keywords: protect shrubs, shrub protection, burlap wrap, desiccating winds, winter protection, wrapping up shrubs

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.