Protecting Shrubs in Winter

In the milder zone 7b of my former home in Tidewater Virginia, people often tie up their roadside shrubs with burlap to protect them from road salt. Now we’re in New Hampshire. Here it’s done, not only for that reason, but to protect branches and shrubs from the weight of snow. We often see small shrubs and large ones protected with tents of burlap or tied up tight with roping.

Tide Hill Korean BoxwoodWe learned the hard way last year when three new dwarf boxwood (Buxus microphylla “Tide Hill”) were buried under 6′ of snow. In March, when I finally dug them out, the entire crowns were crushed. Multiple stems were completely snapped off (bonus: I rooted them and now have a dozen baby boxes).

The three boxwood were transplanted to a more protected garden and three dwarf Helleri holly (Ilex Crenata “Helleri”) replaced them. More rugged than box, but they have similar small leaves. We will maintain them as a small hedge.

Even though a mild winter was in the forecast for the 2015 winter months, we weren’t taking any chances. We wanted to protect the small Helleri hollies from the elements. So mister gardener made small sandwich boards that he put over the hollies when the first flakes began to fall.

Dwarf Helleri Holly protectionThe next snowstorm covered the boards.

Helleri HollyNow take a look below at our 7-ft. snowdrift over the hollies today. The final snowstorm this week confirmed our suspicions about the Seacoast of New Hampshire. Listen to no one… not the weatherman, not the clerk in the store, not the Farmer’s Almanac, not the mailman, not friends or neighbors. This we know: snow is a given. Take preventive measures to safeguard the garden, the house, the automobiles, and yourself. We are learning….

7-ft drift

8 thoughts on “Protecting Shrubs in Winter

  1. Not funny, but I did have to chuckle. My boxwoods are buried and some are even buried under part of a tree that was in the process of being taken down when the arborist crushed his hand, the snow came, and now nothing will be done until the snow melts. It’s not going to be pretty here but thanks to Mr. Gardener your little guys look like they will do just fine. 🙂


    • I would not call this winter ‘mild,’ would you? It may be that ‘mild winter’ has a whole different meaning in New England. How terrible for your arborist! I hope all your garden flora is safely protected beneath the snow drifts at your home.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope the hollies can be the least of your worries. If it is any consolation, the snow is getting a lot of press, even down here – and it looks really bad.


  3. That’s a lot of snow! I generally don’t protect plants from too much snow, but I will go out with a broom and knock the snow off larger shrubs. I do use hardware cloth to protect shrubs and trees from marauding rabbits and voles.


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