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More Winter Burn

Q: Hello! I live in Southern Wisconsin, close to the Illinois border. I have 2 Alberta Spruce in large pots. We have had a dry winter, so I did water them over the winter.

I am noticing brown dry needles on the tips and a little in some of the branches. Can you tell me what I should do to bring them back, or will they be alright?

Is this "winter burn"? Should I have wrapped them in burlap over the winter?

Any information you may be able to give me would be greatly appreciated! Thank You! Barb

A: It definitely sounds like winter-burn.

You can apply an anti-transpirant in fall to help reduce the amount of moisture lost via the needles to sun and wind.

Burlap can be placed around the plants, too, but maybe more as a barrier against the wind versus "wrapping" the plants up tightly like Christmas presents.

In the meantime, check the soil moisture, and apply 1 gallon for every square foot of surface area over the roots once a week whenever it's dry.

I would wait for new growth this spring before making any determination about pruning the plant.

The interior needles are supposed to fall off, so I wouldn't be too worried about them.

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