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Winter Protection Shrub Covers

Winter protection is not something I typically need in our garden. I focus largely on planting cold hardy trees and shrubs and anything that is pushing the limit I place in a protected spot. However this year we had to cut the foundation yews along our house completely down to the ground due to the construction of an addition. The gardens needed to be emptied so the builders and bricklayers could erect their scaffoding to work on those sides of the house. Rather than dig up the yews, which were well established 10 year old shrubs, we decided to try an experiment. In June we cut the yews down to about 6 inches, with a chainsaw no less. This meant reducing their size by almost 3 feet!

Foundation Yews
Foundation Yews before cutting back

Well the experiment worked. The addition was completed without any further damage to the gardens and the yews put on dense new growth, growing to about 10 inches by fall. The only problem was that the growth came mostly at the end of the summer and I was concerned this growth would not be hardened off enough to make it through the winter.

Foundation yews new growth
Fresh new growth on severely pruned foundation yews

Luckily I found these great winter covers at our local building center by NuVue. They are made of a synthetic fiber material that protects the shrubs from heavy snow build up, freezing rain and winds. The fiber material allows light penetration and air flow, critical for plant survival. The only negative comment I would have is that the plastic ground spikes, while labeled as heavy duty, were still plastic and several chipped at the top when I hammered them into the soil. Their material indicates that these covers last for several years. We will see how ours last through their first winter.

Winter covers on foundation yews
NuVue Winter Covers protect tender new growth from harsh winter conditions

While the NuVue website also indicates that they make Framed Frost Covers as well, I plan on using these winter covers over the top of tender spring growth, topped with sheets to help protect new growth on plants such as my Endless Summer Hydrangea. After all, I love products that are multipurpose rather than single use.

One Response

  1. Laurrie
    | Reply

    I knew you could prune yews rather severely and they would be okay, but I didn’t realize you could entirely decapitate them! Mine are getting a little misshapen, and I thought I would do some side pruning, but I may chop them down to the ground next year and see how they regrow. Amazing.

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