covering box wood bushes

Asked October 29, 2017, 10:36 AM EDT

Hi, I purchased several boxwood bushes this spring, and planted for a hedge. The nursery suggested that this winter and maybe for several years, I cover over winter so they don't dry out. I think that typically, you would use burlap, which I don't have, but can purchase. But I am wondering if I can cover with old bed sheets? If necessary, I could maybe structure with rebar between bushes, put maple leaves around and between, and then cover with sheets, anchoring with pavers. Would this work, or do I need to purchase burlap, and wrap, then tie with twine? Thanks for your advice. Mary

Wright County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Burlap barriers, or old sheets, placed to the southwest, south, or windward directions can help prevent winter burn of boxwood. Winter burn results because the sun and wind increase the rate of evaporation from the leaves and since the ground is frozen, the water can't be replenished from the roots. Actual wrapping of the shrubs isn't really recommended because the plants needs air and light penetration from the top and pressing branches together can cause disease problems before the coverings are removed in the spring. You can use whatever you want to shield the shrubs from wind and sun but we wouldn't recommend packing maple leaves around them because air movement would be severely restricted and moisture would build up. If you don't want to buy burlap, you could pound rebar into the ground and fasten old sheets to it to make a wall of sorts, protecting from harsh winds and sun. Remember to water your shrubs regularly until the ground freezes. Read more about how to protect your plants from winter damage;

Thank you for contacting Extension.