How to Protect Your Trees & Shrubs All Winter

Written by Greenwise Team
Published on September 18, 2022

You’ve invested in your landscapes, and we want to help you care for your trees and shrubs throughout the year, including winter. We can help in a few ways, from as simple as giving watering tips to offering antidesiccant services and pruning. All three play an important role in keeping your plants healthy and your landscape looking fantastic all year.

What Is an AntiDesiccant and How Does it Help?

Once the ground freezes, your trees and shrubs can no longer rely on their roots to supply moisture, so evergreens and shrubs, especially boxwoods, risk drying out. In the lawn care industry, we refer to this as desiccation. An antidesiccant product is how we solve this issue.

Evergreens are most at risk because they don’t drop their leaves, and as a result, will rely on the moisture contained in the leaves and stems to supply water, which quickly dries them out. Harsh winds also play a role in preventing plants from retaining enough moisture.

Fortunately, Greenwise has a solution in the form of a natural antidesiccant spray. We will help protect your boxwoods and other evergreens by applying the safe antidesiccant to vulnerable trees and bushes, helping them retain their moisture all winter long.

Which Shrubs and Trees Need Protection?

  • Broadleaf evergreens, such as azalea, boxwood, holly, and rhododendron
  • Conifers such as arborvitae, cedar, cypress, juniper, and pine
  • Tender stems such as rose canes and hydrangea stems
  • New transplants, such as that bush you transplanted this past summer, which needs help until it can establish new roots

Antidesiccants also protect against winter burn, which is a common problem with boxwoods in our area. You’ll know it’s happening when you see discolored or “burned” foliage starting to appear on the plants in spring as the weather begins warming up. If your boxwoods are in full sun, they are even more susceptible to winter burn.

Are AntiDesiccants Safe?

As with everything we promote, antidesiccant is natural and completely safe for you, animals, and your plants. The main ingredient in our product is pinene, which is a wax-like, natural chemical extracted from pine trees.

When Do You Apply AntiDesiccants?

This product is applied in early winter (November/December) and again in mid-winter (January/February) when your plants are completely dormant. The antidesiccant gradually washes away over several months, so it will do its job over the winter and be gone by spring when the ground thaws and your shrubs and trees can do all the work for themselves.

Pruning Trees and Bushes in the Winter


Pruning during the winter, or dormant pruning, means healthier plants when spring arrives. And it will arrive! So, don’t skip pruning those plants that thrive with dormant pruning.

When to prune depends on what you are pruning. Around here, from November to mid-March, our plants are in a dormant stage.

That makes winter a great time to prune, shape, and thin many of your deciduous plants, trees, and shrubs. Even making large cuts is a low-risk venture this time of year. Plus, you get fantastic results in the spring!

Winter is also the only time you should prune Oaks and American Elms. Oaks are protected trees in our area and should only be pruned in the winter so that you don’t transmit diseases.


Watering through the Winter

Normally, we send out watering alerts during the droughts of summer; however, it’s important to keep your plants watered in the fall and leading into winter, too. Especially, your newly established plants.

Call us to get on our antidesiccant or pruning route, so we can help you keep your trees and shrubs healthy and beautiful all year long!