How do you wrap trees in burlap

Should I Wrap Trees for Winter Protection? | Davey Blog

Wintertime brings out the rawest version of our trees. They’re bare. They’re exposed. And they must survive in harsh, dry air amidst bitter cold temperatures.

So, do they need any help from us to stay warm? Damian in Chicago asked, “Do I need to cover my Japanese maple tree in winter?”

No matter what type of tree you have, here’s when you should step in and protect your tree from winter’s most extreme elements.

What You Need to Know About Wrapping Trees for Winter

If you have a new tree, a tree with thin bark, or an arborvitae, you should wrap it before Jack Frost arrives in town.

Do trees need winter protection? What about evergreens?

Young trees, or trees of any age with thin bark, benefit from winter protection. Why, you ask?

Well, whenever the sun peeks out on a chilly winter day, it warms the tree’s bark. Then, the tissue below the bark perks up. But as soon as the sun disappears behind a building or cloud, the bark temperature quickly drops, which may kill the tissue and can leave the bark cracked and dry.

That, my friends, is what we call sunscald.  But if you wrap your delicate trees, you help protect them from it!

A similar scare can happen to evergreens in winter. Their needles soak up the sunlight on warm winter days, but as soon it gets cool again, the foliage can dry out and turn from fresh green to stale brown.

What's the best tree wrap for winter? Is it burlap?

It depends on what kind of tree you have.

Take Damien’s Japanese maple, for example. It’s a tree that loses its leaves in the fall and has thin bark, so the best way to protect it is by wrapping the trunk in a plastic tree guard.

The same goes for any thin-barked tree, like maple, poplar, aspen, sycamore or linden. Ditto for any newly-planted tree that loses its leaves. Wrap the trunk from the base up to the lowest branches to help protect it from sunscald.

But if you have an arborvitae or evergreen with one of the below issues, wrap it with burlap instead.

Wrap burlap around your evergreen if it’s…

  • Weak for any reason.
  • Fully exposed to heavy wind.
  • Dehydrated and didn’t get much water this fall.
  • Newly planted.

How do I use tree wrap to wrap trees, like arborvitae, with burlap?

There are two ways to safeguard your evergreen tree with burlap. Not only will it help keep the cold air out, but it may also stop deer from eating it!

Option one:

  1. Loosely wrap burlap all the way around the tree, from the lowest branches to slightly above the highest peak.
  2. Pin the burlap temporarily, cut from the spool and remove pins.
  3. To secure, use twine to tie the top, middle and bottom of the tree.

Option two:

  1. Grab three wooden stakes that are slightly taller than the tree.
  2. Place one stake in front, one on the side of the tree that gets the most wind, and the final one on either side of the tree. You want to form a triangle.
  3. Stretch a few pieces of burlap across the stakes and secure with staples.
  4. When you’re done, you’ll have what looks like a protective fence around your tree.

Keep your evergreens green this winter with these tips!



  • Winter Prep
  • Winter Tips
  • Tree Protection

Related Blog Posts

Property Maintenance & Landscaping

How to Protect & Repair Trees from Animals: Deer, Rabbits, Squirrels

Your trees are staples in your yard, and while you welcome wildlife, you’d hate to see them destroy these strong, sturdy plants in your yard. Here is how to protect your trees from animals.

Read More

Property Maintenance & Landscaping

Tree Care Checklist: How to Keep Trees Healthy This Winter

Follow our ultimate checklist filled with tips on how to prepare your landscape and trees for the winter, cold weather.

Read More

Back to our Blog

Sign Up For Free Tree & Landscaping Tips! 

Subscribe to the "The Sapling," the Davey Blog's email newsletter, for the latest tips to keep your outdoor space in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Plus, receive a free instant download of our landscape seasonal checklists when you sign up!

Sign Up Now

Get In Touch With Us!

We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential, commercial, utility, or environmental needs.

Contact Us

Wrapping Trees for Winter – The Tree Care Guide

Prevent tree damage and death during harsh winter months. Knowing how to prepare and protect your trees through the coldest months of the year will help them grow and thrive when spring arrives. gathered information on wrapping trees for the winter and why it is essential to prepare and protect trees from hazards that come with cold weather.

When your trees are young, have thin bark, or are arborvitae, they require a bit of extra attention to make it through severe cold weather. When trying to decide how or if to wrap your tree, consider the following:

Deciduous Trees – During autumn months, deciduous trees not only lose their leaves, but their metabolism also slows down in preparation for dormancy. After planting, the trunk should be wrapped or protected from the root flare (at the bottom of the trunk) up to the first set of lower branches during the first five years.

  • Tree wraps should be made from a breathable material (burlap, Kraft paper, etc.) that does not adhere to the tree. These wraps protect the bark from suffering sunscald.
  • Tree protectors are generally made from a more sturdy material (vinyl, PVC, plastic) that loosely fit around the trunk and protect the tree from sunscald and wildlife. Specifically, deer that use tree trunks to rub their antlers.

Sunscald, also called southwest injury, occurs during late winter and early spring when:

  1. Tree bark is exposed to cold or freezing temperatures
  2. The sun comes out and heats up the bark (this activates tree cells, breaking dormancy)
  3. The sun is then blocked or goes down, and the warmed bark rapidly drops in temperature

Exposure to such temperature fluctuations ends up damaging tree cells and can severely interrupt the phloem and xylem located beneath the bark. Sunscald will likely lead to:

  • Sunken, discolored areas of bark
  • The formation of cankers in affected areas
  • Bark cracking or splitting

Deciduous trees most susceptible to sunscald include young or newly planted trees, those trees suffering from drought conditions, and hardwoods with thin bark. At-risk species include:

  • Poplar
  • Aspen
  • Maple
  • Sycamore

Tip: For best results, avoid using material that adheres to tree bark or tightens/shrinks around the tree’s trunk.

Watch this video to see how to apply tree wrapping.

Evergreen Trees – Evergreens, like deciduous trees, can suffer crippling damage during winter months. If your evergreens have suffered from the following, they should be wrapped for the winter:

  • Newly planted or transplanted
  • Exposed to high or constant wind
  • Exposed to drought or exhibits signs of drought (yellowing, browning, or becoming brittle)
  • Has been affected by infestation or disease

Wrapping your evergreen trees and shrubs can be accomplished in several ways. Here are two effective methods:

Method One – For this method, you will physically wrap the tree with burlap:

  • Loosely wrap the tree from its base to its tip
  • Use twine (around the tree) to tie the bottom, middle, and top of the tree

Be careful not to tightly “mummify” the tree. The wrap should be able to breathe, and the twine should be snug but not tight enough to damage the foliage or branches.

Watch this video to see how an evergreen can be wrapped.

Method Two – In this method, you are erecting a barrier around the tree and will need three stakes slightly taller than the tree:

  • Mark a triangle in the soil around the tree (large enough for the entire tree to fit inside)
  • One point of the triangle should be on the side of the tree that gets the most wind
  • Drive one stake in front of the tree (the side that gets the most wind)
  • Drive the other two stakes at the other points of the triangle
  • Stretch burlap around the tree, stapling it to the stakes as you go

The end result of this method should appear to be a triangular fence around your evergreen.

Read more about protecting evergreens during the winter months at

When To Remove Tree Wrap

Tree guards and wraps should be removed in early spring. Watch your deciduous trees and shrubs, when they break dormancy and begin their growing season, guards and wraps should come off.

While these protective materials can preserve your tree in the colder months, it can provide a perfect, moist environment for insect infestations and trunk disease growth.

As the growing season begins, be sure to remove guards and wraps before applying pest control products, and keep them off until needed for the next winter.

Tip: If you plant landscape trees in spring, leave the trunks unwrapped until late fall to allow the bark to harden/thicken.

Winter Tree Protection

Using tree wraps and guards is an effective way to preserve your trees’ health in their youth. However, the greatest way you can aide your trees is by promoting their health and vigorous growth. You can do this by:

  • Ensuring your trees are well-watered throughout the year
  • Mulching the root plate to conserve moisture and regulate ground temperature
  • Seasonally and properly prune
  • Fertilize when necessary
  • Prevent or immediately treat infestations and signs of disease

Note: The combination of proper watering and mulching helps prevent winter heaving (repeated ground freezing and thawing, that pushes roots to the surface).

Tip: Have all of your trees and landscape annually inspected by an arborist. Their trained eyes can help you avoid or correct issues that most people fail to detect until massive damage has already occurred.

For more information and tips on winter tree care, read

Protecting Trees in Winter

In this article, you discovered information about wrapping trees and using tree guards to protect them from the dangers accompanying winter months.

Taking measures to protect your trees during winter helps them remain healthy and vigorously grow in the spring.

Leaving your trees exposed to the elements can cause severe damage, weakening your trees’ health, leaving them susceptible to disease and deadly infestation.


Tags:Burlap Tree WrapCaring For TreesDying TreeThe Tree Care Guidetreetree careTree DiseaseTree HealthTree IllnessTree ProtectionTree WrapWinter Tree Protection

Shelter the garden from frost and wind so that it blooms again in the spring

In cold weather, young fruit trees, and sometimes even older plants, can freeze. In Soviet times, the Michurin Research Institute of Horticulture conducted a study and found out that in the winter of 1939 and 1941, at least 200 thousand hectares of orchards were frozen in the country.

Now gardening has advanced a lot, but the frosts are still severe. It is even more difficult to cope with wintering if hares or goats enter the garden, happily nibbling the bark from the trunks. In order for the garden to bloom in spring, it is necessary to protect it from snow, frost and pests.

What to pay attention to

Remember: heat-loving varieties - columnar pears and apple trees - are especially affected. All types of wood, without exception, are adversely affected by a sharp decrease and increase in temperature. The more smoothly cold and warm alternate, the better the tree adapts.

Frosts are doubly dangerous for the garden in regions where winters have little snow. A good snow cover more or less protects the root system, and if it is not there, you need to take care of the shelter.

Increase the winter hardiness of plants before the cold weather: make an autumn pruning, feed the trees with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers and make a good watering, and then take care of special shelters.

Shelter No. 1: against rodents

To protect against rodents, tie up the trunks with PVC film, cover with roofing tar paper, spruce branches. If there are hares, moose in the region, or there is a risk that the trees will want to devour, for example, neighboring goats, then you need to close the bark with spruce branches. Moreover, you need to cover the forks of skeletal branches, the crowns of young trees - all this is very living creatures.

Winter is cold and lack of greenery, but this does not mean that pests have stopped doing their job. It is necessary to equip traps for a dangerous bear - dig a hole half a meter deep, put warm manure in it, and then cover it with earth and mark the place with pegs. When severe frosts strike, they dig a hole and the bears gathered in it die.

Shelter #2: from frost

What happens to the bark in freezing temperatures? On the south side, the trunk heats up, and on the north it is covered with frost. On frosty nights, tree sap crystallizes (freezes) and breaks wood cells. As a result, the gardener sees frost holes in the morning. But not only they are dangerous, but also the general freezing of wood.

It is necessary to shelter from the cold not only the trunk, but also the soil near it (roots, shoots), crown, especially in very young trees. What can be used as a heater:

  • straw, spruce branches (coniferous branches), burlap - for the trunk, branches, crown;
  • compost, manure - to cover the soil around the tree (protection of the roots).

This shelter protects not only from the winter "icy" sun, frost, but also from snowfall and wind.

How to build a shelter:

  1. A "hut" is built around the tree from shackles, wooden slats, boards.
  2. From above, the crown is covered with covering material.
  3. The structure is fixed with twine, wire, ropes.
  4. The root part is closed with spruce branches or peat.

Five ways to shelter trees from frost and cold winds

Be sure to cover young trees that survive the first winter, and vaccinations. For them, you can take agrospan or any other agrofiber that is tied with twine as a shelter.

With the help of wire and agrofibre, you can create comfortable covering structures

Sometimes gardeners make a serious mistake by covering young plantings with snow almost completely. The snow begins to melt, and here it is important to free the trees and seedlings from the snowdrift. If you are even a little late, this guarantees the death of young trees: the trunk will swell, the roots will begin to rot, an ice crust will grow on the seedling and it will freeze out on a cold night.

Shelter #3: Root Mulching

The biggest danger is the deep freezing of the soil. The roots are affected, and with strong temperature fluctuations (multiple thawing and freezing), the damage can be irreparable. Mulching can save the roots: the surface of the earth must be “filled” with a thick layer of mulch.

A substrate is taken as mulch - sawdust, peat, hay with soil. The mixture is laid in several stages:

  1. In late autumn, the substrate is thrown onto the near-trunk area on half of the shovel bayonet.
  2. Complete hilling with the composition is carried out with an increase in the height of the shelter.
  3. A glass of wood ash is added - it protects against pests, fungus, mice.
  4. During the period of frost, the bottom of the bole is mulched.
It is impossible to mulch the base of the trunk before the onset of stable cold weather, otherwise the bark will wet. If tightened with shelter, then the soil, on the contrary, will freeze together with the upper root parts. Therefore, it is important to correctly guess the moment: it is ideal when it is already cold, but real frosts have not hit yet.

The mulch should be immediately covered with fallen snow. Remember: the higher the snowdrift under the tree, the more securely the roots are protected.

Mulching should affect the entire root system, it is absolutely impossible to “rake” anything from the base of the trunk!

Shelter No.

4: from burns

During thaws, uncovered boles and crowns should be sprayed or smeared with a special solution. This will help prevent sunburn on very cold days.

Do not use lime - it can corrode organic matter, especially if the bark is damaged. For whitewashing, take chalk or a special garden acrylic whitewash.

For whitewashing, use chalk mortar or acrylic garden whitewash.

In heavy snowfall, branches of trees and shrubs break under the weight of snow, the same problem occurs during a thaw, when the snow is pressed on the crown, begins to thaw and become heavier. So that the branches do not break, you need to regularly shake off the snow, and even better, tie the branches with ribbons.

How to cover trees and shrubs for the winter - 5 important points to end the season - AgroXXI

Fruit trees and shrubs provide us with a tasty harvest of healthy fruits, decorate the site and save significant amounts by allowing us to make preparations for the winter. In response, a grateful owner will always take care of his breadwinners and will take steps to ensure that the trees survive the cold without damage.

Preparing trees for winter will definitely pay off in the next season with a rich harvest.

1. How to cover a tree for the winter.

So, if you planted seedlings in autumn, then the trees must be covered for the winter. How to do it? You can buy a special “wrapper” in the store for this purpose, or you can use traditional burlap wrapping. Remember that seedlings need to be covered for two winters in a row, and young fruit trees or shrubs with thin bark - 5 winters.

For the most budget-friendly option, you can wrap the tree trunk up to the first branches with paper. Be sure to overlap the layers with an overlap, secure them with duct tape or twine. In the spring, of course, the tree must be “unpacked”. Branches located on the leeward side should also be covered with burlap.

Mulch the root zone with a layer of 10 to 20 centimeters around the base of the tree, but spread the mulch at a distance of 50 cm from the trunk. Mulch will protect the tree's root zone from frost and help retain moisture in the soil. Another option for natural mulch is if the tree is healthy, let the leaves fall to the ground and cover the top with a tarp, pressing it down with rocks.

Gently tie young branches against the trunk with twine to prevent snow and ice from adhering and breaking branches under their weight. Take care when wrapping or tying anything to your tree so that the tree trunk is not damaged by bonding materials such as wire. Any damage, even the smallest cut, can leave your tree susceptible to disease and/or ice formation in the area.

Be aware that some coatings, such as clear plastic, act as a greenhouse. When the sun is shining, the temperature increases significantly and this can damage the plant, "scald the bark". The tree will associate warmth with the coming of spring and it will come out of dormancy. And when it becomes very cold again after a few days, tissue death can begin.

If you have planted a heat-loving shrub, in the first winters it is better to build a "house" from bags stuffed with leaves and dry grass, and plywood planks. Pre-tie the branches compactly with twine.

Top the "house" with a tarpaulin and secure it with ropes.

Don't forget to recharge the seedlings in autumn before the ground freezes. Newly planted trees do not yet have deep root systems to draw water from the lower layers.

2. Why is it necessary to cover trees for the winter?

Protecting fruit trees from the cold is an important task if your garden is located in a climate zone with severe winters, the trees do not have winter hardiness, and there is a danger of a lack of snow, which isolates the plants from wind and freezing temperatures.

Extreme conditions such as ice storms, wind and prolonged sub-zero temperatures can damage branches and dry out the tree, make plant tissue more susceptible to injury and sunburn, and lead to root problems as roots are less hardy than the trunk or branches .

Although the soil cools slowly, there are a number of factors that affect soil temperature. You need to know that moist soil retains heat better than dry soil. Sandy soils are colder than loamy soils. Heavy snow cover and mulch act as insulators and increase soil temperatures.

With newly planted trees, you get soil cracks in the planting hole that allow cold air to enter the root zone, reducing root growth or killing newly formed roots. Therefore, in late autumn, check the root zone of seedlings for cracks, sprinkle this area with earth and mulch with wood chips or coarse straw.

Repeated freezing and thawing of the soil in autumn or winter during the thaw causes the soil to expand and contract, which can damage the roots and lift the root system of shrubs or seedlings off the ground. Check your plantings after thaws and keep a supply of mulch on hand.

3. How can and can not mulch trees for the winter.

But mulching is only useful if you use the right mulching product. Using the wrong mulch can be dangerous for your tree.

Using compost or rotted manure to mulch your fruit trees in the fall is a bad idea. This is because nutrient-rich compost or manure will give your trees a boost as they prepare for dormancy. Your tree may produce tender young shoots that will die in the first winter frost, and the plant won't have time to transfer nutrients from the leaves to the roots, making it difficult to survive the winter.

So which mulch to choose? One that decomposes slowly: straw or hardwood mulch, for example. Some people even mulch with gravel. These products successfully insulate the tree's roots from climatic stresses until it comes out of dormancy in the spring.

4. How to protect trees from animal damage in winter?

Mice, hares and deer can damage your trees and shrubs in winter by feeding on twigs and bark, leaves and stems.

The best overall strategy for protecting your trees and shrubs from animals is to reduce the area by creating physical barriers such as covering the trunk with glass wool or netting over paper or burlap wrapping, or installing plastic barriers.

Learn more