Protecting Schipp Laurels in winter

Asked November 17, 2015, 12:34 PM EST

We have many Schipp Laurels in our yard. After last winter they were in terrible shape with lots of dead leaves. Someone said we should spray them with dormant oil. Can you advise when and how to do this? Thank you!

Lancaster County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Spraying an oil or waxy substance on the leaves may not be enough if we get another harsh winter. Many evergreens and ornamental trees in Carbon County were damaged or died. Here is a link to the University of Minnesota publication called "Protecting Trees and Shrubs from Winter Damage". As you can see in the article, winter damage occurs from sun and wind as well as cold.
The best protection comes from wrapping or covering the plants. Broad leaf evergreens have more problems because of the increased surface area. Burlap is a cover that has been in use for years. There are also ready made covers available on line. If you pot for burlap. Here is a description of how to do it.

Covering Plants with Burlap

To cover a plant with burlap, begin by placing three or four wooden or stakes around the plant, allowing a few inches of space between the stakes and the plant. Drape a double layer of burlap over the stakes and secure the material to the stakes with staples. Don’t allow the burlap to touch the foliage; if it becomes wet and freezes, it can damage the plant.

Remove the burlap as soon as the weather moderates, but leave the stakes in place so you can cover the plant quickly in the event of another cold snap. Remove the stakes in spring when you’re sure freezing weather has passed.