Anti-dessicant for new/late plantings (arborvitae/boxwood)

Asked November 1, 2020, 9:39 AM EST

Hi, I have read that anti-dessicants are unnecessary for the most part but wondering about late season evergreen plantings since they haven't had a chance to establish roots going into the winter months. Arborvitae and boxwood in particular. Thanks!

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Anti-desiccants can do more harm than good if used improperly, and can clog the pores that allow the plant to transpire. If you feel strongly about using them, follow the directions carefully and only apply to leaves that have gone fully dormant in late fall. These products should only be applied when temperatures are in the 40-50 degree range. A safer strategy would be to put up a burlap barrier to protect the plants from wind, sun and deer browse. Remember that barrier material should not touch the plants, and allow for air circulation around them. Ensuring that the plants are well-hydrated before the ground freezes can also help the plants endure the stress of winter, so during mild dry periods you should feel the soil to make sure the plants have access to adequate moisture. Mulch is also beneficial as it insulates the root systems and prevents moisture loss. Here is a good article about protecting landscape plants from winter stress: