Colorado blue spruce and green spruce

Asked November 11, 2017, 9:29 AM EST

Should I use an anti-desiccant spray such as wilt proof for winter protection? Elevation 10,000 feet. Mount Crested Butte

Gunnison County Colorado spruce

1 Response

Thanks for your question about protecting your spruce trees. Here's what Horticultural Agent Alison O, a said a couple of years ago:

"There isn't a lot of information on these products, but I did find some references from the University of Minnesota. Specifically, Dr. Jeff Gillman in his book "The Truth about Gardening Remedies: What Works, What Doesn't and Why" refers to antitranspirants:

"They may be useful in certain cirumstances, but they certainly aren't a miracle cure. These are the wrong products for reducing the need to water. Antitranspirants simply will not block the pores of a plant for a long-enough time to be effective. This inability also makes these products ineffective at reducing water loss over winter months.

For transplanting, mixed results are present, but in a situation where a high-value tree is to be moved, an antitranspirant is probably worth a try: it could help and is unlikely to do much harm. Applications of these products are unlikely to improve cold hardiness or relieve damage caused by winter but may provide some control of diseases."

The bottom line, is if you use these products, plan to reapply several times during the winter. But really, instead of buying them, I would recommend you water regularly in the winter, at least once a month if we don't have an inch of precipitation. Here's information from CSU on fall and winter watering: http://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/garden/07211.pdf

As for specific products, I can't recommend any...the big thing would be to make sure they are labeled for use on spruce. Some may discolor the foliage."

Hope this is helpful!