Protect tender plants from winter winds with hoops made of wire and burlap.
Plants that are prone to desiccation in winter, like broad-leaved evergreens, can be injured by dry north winds and bright days. When I transplanted some young rhododendrons to a windy location a few years ago, I felt that the plants would need winter protection, so in late fall I improvised a way to shelter them. I cut rectangles of welded wire (the mesh with a 6-inch grid that’s used to reinforce concrete slabs), bent the rectangles into half cylinders, and placed one over each shrub. I snipped the cross wires of both ends so I could push the upright wires 6 inches into the soil, and for insurance, I staked each end to the ground with a hooked wire. Then I cut a length of burlap, draped it over the mesh, folded the loose fabric together at both ends, and pinned the folds securely with long, thin nails. To hold each side, I slipped a fold of cloth under the bottom cross wire and pinned it with a nail. The burlap and mesh held up well all winter. They didn’t spare every flower bud from blasting, but they did keep the leaves from burning. The following winter, I let the plants fend for themselves and they were fine.