Surviving Winter: Water Wisely and Well

As drying winter winds and cold set in this season, many normally hardy plants may need help to fight off the effects of the cold.

To protect against harsh winds, spray evergreens with an antidessicant oil, available at your local nursery. This oil leaves a protective film on leaves and needles. You can also wrap exposed trees, roses, and shrubs with burlap or other gardening fabrics to break the wind's bite. One new plant-protecting product called the Bush Jacket is a spun-bonded, breathable fabric that lets water in but guards against wind and direct sunlight. It comes in a leafy pattern, too.

While these measures help, the best winter protection you can give a plant is prevention. Water your trees, evergreens, and perennials thoroughly before a hard freeze. During thaws, water as needed, and always water deeply.