To Wrap, or Not To Wrap

To wrap, or not to wrap…

That is the question. And no, I am not talking about whether you should be choosing gift bags, festive paper or your kids art work to gift wrap Grandma’s slippers. I am talking about wrapping your trees, before winter sets in for good. It can be hard to know if you should wrap burlap around everything in your yard or if Mother Nature will take care of her own. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of tree-wrapping, shall we.

Pros and Cons of Wrapping Trees for Winter

For starters, look at a few photos for a second;

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The tree on the left has been wrapped in burlap in preparation for the blasts of snow and ice that come with winter in the Northern climes. It kind of looks like a gnome to me, but the tree certainly won’t get sun or wind burn!

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The tree on the right has been left to its own devices and is bent double under the weight of its wintry blanket. Quite the winter wonderland there!

Can I point out one thing though? You are looking at two different kinds of trees.

Typically, most deciduous trees (trees that drop their leaves in winter) do not require any extra care in the winter. They might bend due to heavy snow, but this is temporary. The tree will bounce back as soon as the snow is gone. Good news, as how would you go about wrapping a 40-foot oak tree?

That being said, newly planted specimens need extra protection from wind and harsh winter weather for the first few years. In fact, the sun can do as much damage as either of those things. A tree guard wrapped around a tree’s trunk will help to prevent sun scald, until the new tree’s bark is thick enough to protect it from the winter sun’s harsh rays. Put it on in the Fall and remove it after the last frost in the spring.

Another thing you may want to protect your tree from is salt. We have been salting roads, since there were motorized vehicles. Good for cars that want to get from A to B, but not so good for vegetation that lies close it. If you have a tree planted near a roadway, you might want to protect it from winter slush and salt damage. A simple burlap barrier will protect the tree from the worst of the damage, but tree roots don’t like salt either. In future, if you have heavy salt use in your area, plant new trees far enough from the road to prevent injury.

What about evergreen trees? More often than not, those are the trees that you see wrapped snug in winter. Again, while newly planted species need the protection, more mature evergreens do not necessarily need wrapping. Think about your old-fashioned Christmas tree. If you wrap it up, you can’t admire its green boughs and branches that inspire so many beautiful carols. Winter interest is harder to come by as well, so perhaps think about leaving off that bulky burlap this year. There are a few species that do benefit from some winter protection though, such as dwarf Alberta spruce and juniper. If you aren’t sure, feel free to give CLC Tree Services a call to ask us for our professional advice. Better yet, leave us a comment and we will get back to you with your winter, tree-related concerns!

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Another thing to take into consideration when deciding whether to wrap or not, is the presence of animals. Mice, deer and rabbits are all looking for harder to come by meals in the heart of winter. A tasty tree is just the thing to nibble on, be it tender twigs, attractive foliage or just plain bark. If you are concerned about pesky critters decimating your plants, a wire-mesh tree ring might be what you need. Make sure it is bigger than your tree, to prevent impeding tree growth, but not too large that Peter Rabbit can wiggle has way in for a midnight snack.

Your local arborist is your best source for your tree care needs and if you are in London, Ontario, then that would be Curt and the crew from CLC Tree Services!

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i appreciate the helpfulness of this. We had a tremendous storm two years ago that severely damaged several trees leaving me to wish that we had done something like this.


That after-the-fact knowledge can be a bit painful at times, but sometimes that is how we learn best. SAd that you had to lose some trees over it though. Thanks for stopping by to share Brian.


Recently planter a Cologreen Juniper. Should we wrap it for winter? We live in Calgary.


Wise words from our very own Calvin McCallum;

“Yes, it never hurts to wrap a juniper through colder winters. Especially if it is near areas that will be salted, or experience high winds.
Hope this helps.”

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Published by
November 17, 2011 3:18 pm