GARDEN WORKS: Wrap your trees in tin foil – The Sure-fire way to protect your trees in wintertime… And puzzle your neighborhood!


by Emily Cates

This one is for all tin-foil hat enthusiasts, and gardeners too. If you like tin foil, this one’s for you! When winter blasts the ground with her frozen air, critters are tempted to strip a young tree bare. But do not fret — no, do not cry — for aluminum foil could be the best answer your pennies can buy!

Lest I be labeled a lunatic, there is a little light to be shed on this seemingly ludicrous proposal. Folks who grow various trees, vines, and shrubs have always known that these, when young, are susceptible to damage from rodents, rabbits, and other rascals in the wintertime. I’ve even lost a few trees myself because I didn’t wrap them in time.

Whenever the ground starts to freeze — and especially when it snows – you can be sure the feast will begin! First a bite here, then a nibble there, and before long, the whole trunk is girdled, ensuring a certain demise. Really, it’s not a question of if- it’s a matter of when it will happen. If your young trees get through the winter unscathed, then my hat’s off to you! The rest of us, though, will just have to settle with one more chore before the snow flies. Let’s find out why I’m so crazy about wrapping the trunks of young trees in tin foil.

I should note it’s not actually my idea; my mother-in-law from Germany told me her father would wrap his saplings with aluminum to protect them in wintertime. He got the idea from his father-in-law who was the Kaiser’s master gardener… so I am assuming that if this idea is good enough for a king, it’s worth sharing with you.

Yes, I will admit that you can go to a garden store and buy aesthetically-pleasing tree guards. Go ahead if it makes you feel better! I’d hate for my schemes to spoil the ambiance of your garden space. But if you’re looking for something radical and recyclable (and oh-so 50s galactic-retro), you’re in the right place.

Anyways, after all this banter, the application is refreshingly simple: Just get out a roll of foil and wrap a couple layers on the trunks of the specimens you wish to protect. The thicker the foil, the fewer layers that are needed. Mold it around snugly from the base at ground level to the anticipated snowline. That’s it! Remember to remove and recycle in springtime, and marvel at the heroic level of protection a humble roll of aluminum foil provides!


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