How To Help Overly Pruned Mountain Laurels Through Winter

Question From: Danbury, Connecticut, United States
Q: Hello, A landscaper with good intentions severely over pruned my mountain laurels. They are not recovering very well at all. I want so much to save them. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you. Maureen

A: Make sure to keep them watered as we go into winter. After the first hard frost - when the temperatures are about 40 degrees for several hours spray the shrubs with an anti-dessicant such as Bonide Wilt-Stop. The target time here in Michigan is about Thanksgiving, Be sure to get the undersides of the leaves. This stuff lasts about 3 months, so later is better, but it must not be freezing when applied for long enough to dry. A screen of burlap will help deflect drying winds. Do not fertilize until spring. I would use an organic slow release fertilizer, such as Holly Tone, by Espoma. Mulching with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch will also be helpful. In the future do any pruning by July 4th to give new growth time to harden off. Good Luck and Happy Yardening, Nancy