Antidesiccants, also known as antitranspirants, are sprayed on ornamental plants, especially evergreens, shrubs, roses, and others to prevent them from drying out. They can also be sprayed on dormant tubers, bulbs, and bare root stock to prevent excessive moisture loss over the winter. Excessive moisture loss from plants causes severe wilting, shock, or plant death. It occurs in winter when drying winds and a frozen ground deprive plants of their natural moisture intake or when Christmas trees and greens are cut.
Small plants may be dipped in it. It is also effective against windburn, drought, sunscald, winter kill, transplant shock, salt damage or any condition that dries out plants. At the same time, it allows plants to grow naturally. We recommend one spraying in late fall and a second in February. It can also be used as a fungal preventative on annuals.
Most are made of a natural pine oil emulsion, derived from the resin of pine trees in a ready-to-spray liquid or concentrate. They are nontoxic. Some contain chemicals that cover the stomata (tiny openings in the leaves) through which moisture escapes. They dry to a clear, glossy, flexible film that does not affect the natural breathing and growing processes of a plant.
Use only during periods when there is excessive evaporation of moisture, otherwise the plant could be harmed by preventing some needed transpiration. Since some plants could be sensitive to an antidessicant, test some first on a small section of the plant. Spray in the late fall once species have hardened off for winter when the temperature is above freezing so that spray will not freeze on foliage and again in mid/late February when the daytime temperature is above 42°F.
Make sure you read the label on the product and follow the directions. As always, if you have any questions – give us a call!