Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Yew can prune, too. It’s easy!

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Do you have winter burn on your evergreens?  Winter burn – browning of needles or full branches – occurs when the plant becomes dehydrated.  Like other plants, evergreens produce energy through photosynthesis and expel a lot of water through this process.  In the winter, the soil is frozen so our evergreens cannot uptake water.

Winter burn is unattractive but rarely causes problems for evergreen trees and shrubs – that’s a good thing, because once it begins, there is not really anything we can do about it in the winter.

Branches with winter burn can be removed in the spring.  If an entire tree is brown with no buds, then it is best to remove the tree in a timely manner.  Insects will begin to make their home in the damaged tree, and could spread to any nearby (healthy) evergreens.

One of my first projects each spring is to prune a hedge of yews (pronounced “you”) just east of the Head House.  Some folks wrap their evergreens in burlap to prevent winter burn, but I’m just not able to do that with so many evergreens on site.  Yews are easily pruned, so I take this opportunity to reshape the hedge.  Other than this early season pruning, the hedge takes little maintenance.

The photo on the left shows the winter burn while the photo on the right shows the newly pruned shrub.  I just cut off the branches with my hand pruners.  With each branch, I look inside the shrub for where the brown begins – I cut right below the brown on each branch.

See you in the gardens.


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

April 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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