This condition happens most frequently in west and south-facing plants. The winter sun can be extremely harsh and when the plant has lost more moisture than can be replaced, the brown discoloration may occur. The higher the elevation, the more at risk your plants are to winter burn. Check any plants that have been recently installed as well, because their root systems may not be mature enough to adequately protect them.
Here in Colorado this condition is not that uncommon, but there are also other conditions that may cause your plants to brown. Sometimes spider mites rob plants of vital moisture and can cause browning. Spider mites are most problematic for junipers. Salt damage from products used to prevent freezing can also damage plants. Simply wash away any remaining residue that has been left behind on the foliage from ice melt.
Helpful tips to help your plants recover from winter burn:
- Water, water, water if the plants are dry. That said, be careful not to over-water. Check the soil for adequate moisture levels.
- Prune away any dead or damaged areas. But be careful, just because the plant is brown doesn’t mean the entire branch is dead. Check for new growth and be sure to leave any new buds intact.
- Fertilizer is helpful for your plant’s recovery. Just wait until the plant has fully emerged from dormancy before applying fertilizer.
Prevention is always the best way to protect your plants from winter burn. The earlier in the season new plants are introduced into the landscape, the better. This will give them plenty of time to become established before next season. Also, remember to keep up with watering by checking the soil regularly, even through next winter.
Questions about what plants are best for your home? Give us call at 226-2296 today!