Winter Burn

Been wondering what the rust color on your evergreens is caused from?

Winter burn is discoloration caused when the leaves or needles of evergreens dry out.

The winter burn that most plants are experiencing was not actually a result of the extreme cold, although that contributed, but was caused by the sun.

During the cold months, evergreens continue to lose water vapor through their leaves (or needles, which are modified leaves). The leaves must replace the water by pulling it up from the roots. But when the ground is frozen, the plants’ roots cannot absorb water to supply it to the leaves. If the weather turns warm and sunny while the ground still is frozen, evaporation from the leaves increases and the water cannot be replaced. Discolored or “burned” foliage may start to appear.

This type of winter damage may be misdiagnosed as a disease or as damage from excessively cold temperatures. In fact, winter burn symptoms typically develop during warm weather in late winter and early spring.

The brown or yellowed foliage generally is on the side of the plant facing the sun and/or the side exposed to the wind, where the rate of evaporation from the needles or leaves is greatest.

Winter burn can be more prevalent in years in which the ground freezes early before plants are acclimated to cold weather or when there is little snow. Without snow cover or mulch to insulate the soil, the ground can freeze more deeply.

Unfortunately once a tree has winter burn, it’s a wait and see approach along with a good Organic Tree Drenching of B Vitamins, Fertilizer and Iron.

Evergreen Winter Damage