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Winter Burn Has Done A Brutal Number On Minn. Shrubs

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As the winter begins to the thaw, many Minnesotans are just not getting a glimpse at the lawn for the first time in months. In many cases, it’s not a pretty sight.

Local experts said this has been one of the worst seasons ever for winter-burn.

It doesn’t affect perennials, just evergreens and especially shrubbery.

Joel Wetzel of Golden Valley, Minn. is a landscaper by day, and takes care of his own yard by evening.

He said he’s never seen a year with winter burn like this.  He’s had to throw out several of his potted evergreens.

Bart Bartholomew is a shrubbery specialist at Pahl’s in Golden Valley. He too said conditions are the worst he has seen.

“Obviously it was a hard winter for everybody and the plants, too,” Bartholomew said.

He said it was the sun, low temps and high winds that did it.

“You can think of it as the plant being dehydrated…it’s losing moisture and the ground is frozen so it can’t replace that moisture so it turns orange or brown,” Bartholomew said.

He said if the discoloring is light, just go ahead and snip the yellow pieces. However, if it’s more severe, be patient until June and if re-growth starts, prune it down.

“A lot of times they recover from winter burn, it’s just really severe cases,” Bartholomew said.

Newly planted trees and ones in pots are most likely to be the ones that do die.

Unless it’s obvious, wait it out, just like you did the winter.

He said it can help to fertilize, mulch regularly, use burlap to cover them during the winter and try not to plant evergreens on the south side of the yard.

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