DIY Tree Wrap

It's a wrap! Our baby weeping willow tree gets a winter coat.

Anyone in the North Country attempting to grow trees would be wise to wrap the young saplings before we really get slammed with winter temperatures. But throughout the country, growing certain trees in winter climates will require a little wrapping.

How well you wrap your trees is totally dependents on climate, wind intensity, and type of tree. If you're trying to grow a fig tree in the Northeast, for example, you'll want to wrap it with carpet and surround the whole thing with a tarp (click here for the full rundown); if you've got dwarf hybrid peach trees that are perfectly comfy at -25 degrees, you can go with fabrics, bubble wrap, and old feed bags.

In most four-season climates, it's best to wait until around Thanksgiving to wrap your trees, so as to avoid inviting insects seeking out residence. But our frost came Friday night—which meant it was time to ensure these immature trees had an extra layer of warmth. If we get warm nights again, we'll be double- and triple-checking the babies to make sure no pests have set up shop.

We have two baby peach trees and a weeping willow on the property. Here's how we protected them:

How to Wrap:
  1. Purchase tree wrap from a garden supply store. You may need multiple rolls of wrap, depending on how many trees you need to protect. The wrap is available as waterproof, crinkled paper or burlap. It generally comes in sections of four-inch widths and may include adhesive to secure the wrap. Purchase tape or rope separately, if needed. Tree wrap also is available as vinyl spirals or self-sealing foam. If you want to make your own, utilize burlap, fabric, feed bags cut into 4-inch strips, or a similar replacement. Foam pipe insulation is great for skinny saplings!
  2. Begin wrapping the tree starting from the very base of the trunk and work your way up. Overlap the edges of the wrap to ensure the wind will not penetrate the cracks. Stop wrapping where the branches of the tree begin and secure the wrap with the adhesive, tape or rope, as applicable.
  3. Don't worry about wrapping the entire tree. Wrapping the trunk of the tree will allow for enough protection throughout the winter.
  4. Place mulch around the bottom of the tree for extra protection of the trunk and roots. Make a six-inch layer of mulch extending two feet around the base. Do not place the mulch directly next to the trunk. Not only will mulch protect the base and roots but it will also help to retain moisture throughout the winter.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.