(How to protect our plants in winter)

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The Winter Warlock is coming soon. With him, he brings salt, sun, wind, snow, and animals. This does not sound too bad, does it?! Hmmm. Let’s think about this. Salt, delicious in our food. Sun, great for supplying us with Vitamin D. Wind, cools us on the hottest of days. Snow, perfect for building snowmen. Animals, cute and fuzzy. This definitely is one way to look at things.

Let’s look at these things from the perspective of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Shall we?!

SALT: The big, mean, town trucks come along dumping drying salts along the roadside. Homeowners throw damaging salts onto their icy walkways and driveways. These salts dry out evergreens, cause leaves to brown and kill roadside plants.

SUN: This hot, yellow thing shines down from above burning up boxwoods and creating splits in the tender bark of maples, crabapples, etc.

SNOW: Although beautiful, giant snowplows pile it against hedges, causing them to suffocate, break and rot. Japanese Maples, Arborvitaes, etc. split under its’ weight.

WIND: It blows across branches and leaves drying them up, causing them to curl and fall off. Salty, ocean wind is the worst!

ANIMALS: Cute and fuzzy turns into mean and ugly when winter hits. Voles eat roots of roses and more. Mice gnaw at the base of tree trunks, making their survival difficult.

What to do? PLENTY! There is plenty of help you can offer to your plants to protect them from the Winter Warlock.

COMBAT SALT: Apply Gypsum to the soil around plants that are close to roads, walkways, and driveways. Do this before snow and ice are anticipated. Gypsum helps to displace salt from the soil so our plants do not absorb the deadly salt through their root system. Wilt-Pruf will also give leaves extra protection from salt spray.

COMBAT SUN: Wilt-Pruf acts like sunscreen for most of our evergreens. It helps protect evergreens, like vulnerable Boxwoods, from sunburn. Tanglefoot’s Tangle Guards work well to protect the bark of young trees from splitting due to sunburn.

COMBAT WIND: Rolls of Burlap staked to make a wind barrier for vulnerable plants will help to prevent drying winds. Look for Shrub Jackets and Winter Pals in the store to cover plants individually. Wilt- Pruf to the rescue again. It works to prevent leaves and needles from curling and dropping.

ANIMALS: Voles, unlike most animals do not go into winter hibernation. They love the Winter Warlock and all the snow he brings. They are most active under snow, chewing on plant roots and gnawing on bark. Mice also enjoy nesting at the base of trees and scraping away at the bark. Protect trunks with TreeKote’s Vinyl Tree Guard. I Must Garden’s Mole & Vole Repellent is a must to protect trees, shrubs, roses, and plants from vole damage. Apply this good smelling repellent in garden beds and around the base of trees and shrubs before the winter snow hits. It will really help!

Salt, Sun, Snow, Wind, and Animals. It all depends on how you look at it. These things can be good until Winter Warlock brings them to our trees, shrubs, and flowers. These are winter gifts they could do without. PROTECT THEM!

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!


Hickory Dickory Dock, don’t let those mice run up the clock or anywhere else in your house for that matter. As it gets cold; mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and rodents get desperate. They start running around like “three blind mice” foraging for food and looking for warm and cozy nesting places. Your toasty, inviting home is a perfect spot for them to find food and shelter. It is nice to open our homes during the holidays but do you really want to open them to rodents?! Get as busy as the squirrels and start battening down the hatches.

*Scurry around the outside of your home and look for any holes or gaps that make for easy entry of these critters. They can enter holes as small as a dime. The expanding foam is a quick fix but they often gnaw right through it and make a cozy nest inside. Copper wool is a really good choice for filling holes. They hate the scratchy feeling against their furry faces.

*Sprinkle a granular rodent repellent around the outside of your home. It has a smell and taste they do not like, keeping them from entering your house, garage, shed, etc. The repellent scent will trick them and mask the smell of delicious holiday foods cooking in your house.

*Repel them from the inside out. Mouse Magic Mint Repellent Packets are perfect for inside cabinets, under stoves, and the inside of sheds, cars, and RV’s. You won’t mind the minty smell but they do not care for it a bit!

*One little cute mouse, usually means many more. If baiting put several bait stations throughout your house. Sill plates in basements, utility rooms, areas around piping, and electrical are often good spots to place a little bait. Don’t put baits out in the open. Rodents are tactile and usually like one side of their body touching a structure. They are skittish by nature. This makes them

feel safer.

*They will steal your last little crumb. When you leave pet food or people’s food out, they think you were being very kind and preparing a holiday snack for them. Seal food containers up tight. Don’t let them have a midnight treat.

*Little critters leave greasy little spots behind. This grease lets other rodents know that food is available and they may want to move in. Be sure to use a cleaner with a little bleach to get rid of rodent grease. Gross, I know, but it can happen, no matter how clean your house is!

Let’s get those little rodents to run down the clock and all the way out of your home, garage, shed, car, and/or RV. Check out my shopping list of helpful products below.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!


*Mouse Magic – All natural repellent – great for inside use

*Rat Magic – All natural repellent – great for outside

*Revenge Refillable Mouse Bait Station

*NEW! MOUSE X – All natural and safe way to eliminate mice