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Caring for Evergreens

Q. My evergreen shrubs did very poorly following last winter. What care can I give them now so they can make it through another Chicago winter?

A. The single most important need of your evergreens this fall is water. Because they will continue to lose moisture through their needles throughout the winter, they need a ready supply of moisture around their roots. Try to "deep water" your evergreen shrubs during autumn; this means making sure they receive a good soaking before the ground is completely frozen. Refrain from fall pruning, since this may encourage new green growth that may not harden off for winter. Particularly fragile or newly planted evergreens can be screened from damaging northwest winds by setting up burlap barriers. Since site selection is critical with all trees and shrubs, examine the locations of these plants. If they are not sited appropriately, consider transplanting them next March.