Problems with Euonymus: "Dr. Z's" Tip of the week

Euonymus, especially the big leaf varieties, are starting to look very bad.  Their leaves are a grayish tan or completely brown, looking as though they are dead.  They usually look bad coming out of a regular winter, so this year they look even worse.  But it's a tough plant, and this is just a case of winter burn damage. Deal with it in the same way we discussed the winter damaged hollies.  Dead leaves can be brushed off with a broom, let some time pass to see what re-sprouts, then cut out dead twigs.  Buds are usually more cold hardy than foliage because they are wrapped up and therefore better protected.  Leaves are opened up and exposed.
Needles on many evergreens can be damaged due to winter ice glaze.  Since they are prone this, we had a good example of a hemlock show up in the store with this.  The problem starts out with ice covered needles, and then the sun comes out and shines on the ice.  This situation happened a lot this winter.  The area under the ice gets burned, turning brown.  The damage gives the plant the appearance of having a disease, such as needle cast.  But the ice damage is easy to spot since there is a very distinct line separating green tissue from the brown on the needle.  It's very hard to protect a plant from this type of damage.
Trees and shrubs can be damaged by many different animals during the winter.  One of the more common types of problems is vole damage under the cover of snow.  Voles damage plant material by chewing the bark at the bottom of the plant, around the soil line.  If the bark is chewed all around the plant, then it has been girdled and will most likely die.  A way to protect the plant is to paint on a repellent on the lower part of the tree trunk (or shrub stems) in late fall or just before the first snow fall of the season.

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