Shrub Covers for Hydrangea Winter Protection

Woodpecker at bird feeder in winter

Woodpecker at bird feeder in winter

I woke up to 37 degrees F this morning, a stark reminder that I need to prepare some of my bigleaf hydrangeas (macrophyllas) for winter. Those that aren’t planted in protected locations as I described in an earlier blog post, and…rangeas-part-two/need a little help if I want to give them their best chance of having their buds make it through the coming winter. Exactly what does this mean? Using shrub covers for hydrangea winter protection. They are something I can use to safely protect the plants from ice and snow, maybe even give them a few degrees of insulation.

Using Shrub Covers For Hydrangea Winter Protection

Of course, before I prepare big leaf hydrangeas for winter and cover my plants I need to wait until they have dropped all their leaves. Clean up at the  base of the plant is critical. I don’t want any fungal spores to overwinter and return to infect my plants next season.

Taking that into account, it may be too early in your part of the country to install these covers. But it’s not too early to get those shrub covers lined up ’cause by the time you need them, you might not have enough time to get it all done.

What Does A Shrub Cover Look Like?

What does a shrub cover look like? It can be an “A-Frame” made from discarded wood pallets you can salvage from local stores or one you build on your own.

DIY plans and ideas are all over the internet. There’s one here.

You can simply leave the A-Frame bare to shunt off snow and ice. However, for colder areas the A-frame makes a great base to drape a tarp or insulating cover. If you do that, make sure you secure it against the weather with string or a bungee cord.

Another kind of winter protection can be an unframed drape held by the stems of the plant. Here’s one available at several on-line shopping sites:

Shrub cover available from garden supply sellers.

Shrub cover for hydrangeas available from garden supply sellers.

In any event, don’t wait to get shrub covers lined up for installation. There’s no way of telling when the on-line suppliers will run out and how much time you have to get yourself organized for this task. Let the plants harden off while you get busy doing your part. If this is the route you choose to go, you’ll be glad you’ve got these covers at the ready.


I cover the subject of winter protection in my best selling book, Success With Hydrangeas, A Gardener’s Guide. You can order a signed copy here. It makes a great holiday gift for the gardener in your life.

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