Wiltpruf, burlap or both!

swanz(z5NH)November 27, 2005

I've had Rhodies for 4 years now and only had flowers last year

because I wrapped them with burlap. I bought some of that Wilt-pruf

and sprayed the plants today. Will this be enough or should

I also wrap them. The wiltpruf is kinda expensive so I guess it won't much sense buying again if I still have to go thru the trouble of wrapping.


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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

If you use wiltpruf you will need to spray again in mid winter to make it through the winter. You won't need burlap.

Burlap works great if it is used on the sides and not the top. If you use burlap you won't need wiltpruf.

Obviously if you spray with wiltpruf it is a lot easier and looks better. However, if you have burlap already, it is a lot cheaper to just use it over again and again.

It sounds like your plants are not completely hardy for your area and need some help like burlap or wiltpruf. In severely cold winters, they still may have some problems.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 10:44PM
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Thanks alot rhodyman, gonna give it a shot with just the wiltpruf.
The plant itself always seemed to survive the winter fine with the
exception of the flowerbuds which only made it last year due to the
burlap.I still have the burlap stored away but will try the lazier approach
this year and see if that works. Also trying it on my
Holly bushes which suffered about 30 percent dieback last
Thanks again


    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 9:20PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

One thing that is important with Wiltpruf is to make sure you get coverage on the bottom surface of the leaves also, not just the top. Plants have stomata on the under-surface of their leaves where they loose moisture. That is the reason they curl when they are cold is to protect under-surface and the stomata.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 10:42AM
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and I assume you haven't been disbudding your rhodies inadvertedly when you deadhead the spent flowers.....like someone I knew.....

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 12:03AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I don't think burlap would have prevented that. Being in zone 5 and from NH, I would bet they had natural bud damage.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 11:24AM
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I don't know Rhodyman, just seems too coincidental that the
only time I got flower buds that survived the winter was
this spring when they were burlapped. Got 8 plants on front of
house in a shady Northern exposure during winters. Not one
bud seemed to survive the winters previously. I do believe
your right about the plants not being as hardy as they need
to be for this area. I've always had just a little leaf damage here
and there but nothing significant, but 100 %flowerbud
damage. Does the Wiltpruf protect the flower buds as well?


    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 9:44PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Idabean suggested that you had removed or damaged the flower buds when you dead headed the spent flowers. Obviously you didn't have any spent flowers since they had not bloomed.

When you used burlap they did bloom so that suggests that the burlap protected the buds. You are right that the cold is killing the flower buds. But it is not just the cold but the combination of cold, wind and sun. The wiltpruf will prevent the wind and sun problems the same as the burlap did. However, the combination of wiltpruf and burlap would be even more protective. The wind and sun problem is desiccation. Wiltpurf treats the problem, desiccation, directly rather than its causes. Burlap treats the causes, wind and sun. Neither one will prevent the cold. By eliminating desiccation you have reduced the sensitivity to cold and, hopefully, solved the problem.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 10:25AM
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Thanks again , they sit in a pretty shady spot (one of the
reasons I put them there) but it is windy and cold. One more
question. We get lots of snow around here and without burlap
the bushes are snow covered for much of the winter. I figured
this might help insulate the plant to a certain degree. Is this
correct or is the opposite true? Thanks again for any advice.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 6:04PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

It will help very much.

It isn't much of an insulation, but the WiltPruf prevents the damage caused by the cold. It coats the stomata on the bottom of the leaves and prevents the plant from dehydrating when the roots and soil around them are frozen.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 4:19PM
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Darnit !! The leaves are curling. Guess I'll have to drag out
the burlap for extra protection.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 8:20PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Curling is good. Don't fret it. That is the natural response to cold. If they didn't curl, it would be a worry. Burlap won't prevent curling. Don't forget to reapply WiltPruf in mid winter.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 1:00PM
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