We planted 3 emerald cedars this summer that we bought on sale in 1 gallon pots. Do we need to water them until the ground freezes and burlap them or would they be ok over the winter? They are very small. Also, do you normally wrap boxwoods for the winter?
If you have the patience to buy smaller shrubs and let them grow into the spot where they are needed, it is a very good idea. Not only are the shrubs cheaper but they will become better established than large shrubs in a shorter period of time assuming the allocation is good.
Often times when we purchase inexpensive shrubs, we don’t know where the shrubs were originally grown. They may have originated in a milder climate and need to do some extra adjusting over the next year, making their way through all of our seasons as well as settling in to their new spot. Changes in their new environment may include differences in soil make up, amount of sun, direction they are facing, amount of water and exposure to wind.
Considering all these changes it is suggested that a burlap wrap or fence would be a good idea for the first winter. A nice layer of mulch around the base of the trees would also be a good idea as that will give a bit of extra protection for the roots as well. This link to Landscape Ontario has an article on winter protection for plants and how to wrap for winter protection. https://landscapeontario.com/winter-protection-for-delicate-plants
YES, continue to water until the ground is frozen. It is important for plants to be able to continue to absorb moisture until dormancy occurs.