5 Tips for Protecting Trees & Shrubs in Bad Weather: Advice for Memphis, TN & Northern MS

In a perfect world, the weather conditions would always be optimal for supporting tree and shrub health. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. All year-round there are potential weather concerns which can have a negative impact on your landscape.

The good news is there are solutions.

Your trees and shrubs may just need a little bit of extra protection to shield them from harsh weather. Or, if you have continual problems, it could be that you do not have the best trees and shrubs planted for your Memphis, TN and Northern MS home. If that’s the case, we’ll help you determine your next course of action.

We’ve rounded up some of our best tips to help keep your plants healthy even when Mother Nature seems to be working against you. We’ll look at a number of different weather conditions which could have an impact.

1. Proper Watering is Key During Drought

One of the common problems that we deal with here in Memphis, TN and Northern MS is drought stress.

How do you know if trees and shrubs have drought stress? Some of the potential signs include leaves curling, wilting, and completely drying out; leaves or needles (on an evergreen) yellowing; overall stunted growth; and premature leaf drop. Although these can be signs of other tree and shrub problems like disease and insects, if your property has gone without rain for a couple of weeks and the temperatures are high, then it’s probably drought stress.

technician inspecting shrub

Proper watering during periods of drought is key. Avoid watering from overhead as getting the foliage wet can promote disease. Instead, water at the base of the tree or shrub, so that it can reach the plants’ roots.

2. Mulch can Play a Role in Protecting Trees and Shrubs from Heat (and Wind)

One of our best tips for protecting trees and shrubs is to make sure that you have a proper layer of mulch where they are planted. We find that people often tend to think of mulch in terms of its looks. A fresh layer of mulch certainly looks fantastic in your plant beds and tree rings.

However, it also plays a valuable role in protecting plants’ precious root systems.
Mulch with trees and shrubs
By acting as an insulating barrier, mulch helps to protect the soil and the plant roots from the intensity of the hot sun. It also works as a barrier from the wind which can have unwanted evaporative effects. By helping your tree and shrub roots to retain water, they can continue to perform well.

3. Do Not Become Complacent in the Winter

Although a lot of the stress that trees and shrubs experience here in Memphis, TN and Northern MS (namely heat and drought stress) occurs during the intense summer months, it’s not like you’re off the hook come winter.

Although we do not receive much snow here, we do get our fair share of freezing rain and sleet. One common mistake that homeowners make if they find ice is accumulating on their tree and shrub branches is that they try to shake it off and inadvertently break the plant. It’s best that you avoid ice removal from your trees and shrubs as you put them at greater risk for damage.

Instead, following a frozen rain, take an assessment of your trees and shrubs. If there has been any significant damage, be sure to let your tree and shrub care professional know.

In addition, although it’s not a weather-related issue, we also want to mention that just because we’ve reached the winter months does not mean that pest worries should automatically fall off your radar. Rather than dying off, many of these pests “overwinter.” While some adult pests just hang around until next season, others lay eggs to put a whole new cycle of pests in motion.

This means that you cannot become complacent just because it’s winter. You need a year-round treatment approach to keeping your trees and shrubs healthy. At Master Lawn, we spray a dormant oil to trees and shrubs in December to address overwintering insects.

4. It’s Important to Recognize that Sometimes it’s More Than the Weather

As we mentioned early on, sometimes there’s a greater problem at hand than just the weather conditions you’re dealing with. Sometimes it has more to do with a failure to have the best trees and shrubs planted for your site conditions.

While all trees and shrubs can experience some hardships in extreme weather, if you feel like your plants are struggling more than normal (or even in mild conditions), then it’s possible that there could be a bigger issue to address.

For instance, the installation of your tree or shrub can make a world of difference in its overall performance. Different species have different requirements in terms of planting depth, location, zone, and even proximity to other plants. If it was not planted properly in the first place, this could be the cause behind your problems and no amount of remedies or preventative care will help.

You should be able to count on a tree and shrub care professional to be honest with you if you don’t have the best trees and shrubs planted on your property. At Master Lawn, we are fortunate to have a sister company, Michael Hatcher & Associates, who can handle replacement if health is always going to be an issue.

5. Plant Health Care can Help you Protect your Trees and Shrubs

While there are obviously some problems that can never be fixed (such as a tree or shrub being improperly installed), for the most part, a Plant Health Care program can play a valuable role in providing protection for your trees and shrubs. Plant Health Care works by providing your trees and shrubs with vital nutrients that they need to thrive. By strengthening their overall health, they’ll be able to better stand-up to environmental stress caused by the weather.
plant health care technician spraying shrubs and landscape
On top of that, Plant Health Care will help your trees and shrubs combat insects and disease. That’s because treatments combine fertilization, pest control, and disease control elements. For that reason, you might think of Plant Health Care as a way to help protect your investment in your landscape since it will reduce your risk of losing your valuable plants.

That’s not to say it’s a fix-all solution. At Master Lawn, if there is an issue that cannot be remedied, we’ll be honest with you about it. If a replacement is your best option, we can have you work with Michael Hatcher & Associates to install the best trees and shrubs that are going to perform optimally in your landscape.

Making a Wise Investment in your Landscape

Weather-related problems can strike any time of the year. When plants fall victim to environmental stressors (or disease or pests, both of which are more likely to invade when your plant is stressed), then it can cost you time, money, and aggravation. For that reason, Plant Health Care is ultimately a minimal investment for the peace of mind that it can provide you.

By making an investment in Plant Health Care, you’ll be able to let go of your worries that something might happen to your trees and shrubs and instead know that your landscape is in good hands.

Want to invest in protecting your landscape? Request a quote, get your customized plan, and become the master of your landscape.Get A Free Quote

Joey Steele, Lawn & Plant Health Care Manager

Since 2004, Joey has been using his B.S. in Landscape Construction and his turf and ornamental certifications to transform properties in our area. He loves seeing the fruit of his team's hard work and enjoys the many relationships he's formed since joining our team in 2008. He's an Olive Branch, MS native and enjoys spending time with his wife and three young boys, fishing and going to football games.

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