Garden Tips

I will post tips, advice and irregular advice about gardening here.

Cold Winter Impact

While huddling inside this cold January, many are worried about winter's impact on their shrubs and perennials. Here is an interesting excerpt from a newsletter I received from Carroll Gardens on the subject. By the way, they are a good web and catalog source of plant material.

Winter Temperatures and Plant Hardiness

Though the weather seems fiercely cold, it is really not abnormal for most hardiness zones. Hardiness zone 6 for example is rated for minimum temperatures of 0 to –10 degrees (Fahrenheit.) So far this winter, temperatures have not dipped that low.

As a result of recent warm winters, many have accepted plants into their gardens that are really winter hardy for one to two zones further south. These plants may suffer significant winter injury or be killed by the current low temperatures. The longer these borderline plants have been established, the better chance they have for survival.

Don't be too quick to judge winter damaged plants this spring. Though early buds may have been killed, latent buds deeper in the plant tissue often require months to become active (hollies are a good example.) On woody plants, scratch the bark and look for green tissue to determine how far back the plant may have died. Some well established plants may die back to the ground and still reemerge.

Unless you have really done your homework and determined your exact micro-climate, it is always safer to follow our hardiness zone recommendations.