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Are Your Plants Surviving Harsh Winter Weather? Get Some Michelin Man Zen

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sub zero weather

Dear Casual Gardener,

I’m worried that my perennials will not survive the sub-zero weather we’ve been having. I planted them last fall and mulched only lightly. Now I’m in a panic wondering if I should add anything extra on top of the beds to assist their survival?


Sub-Zero in Suburbia

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Dear Sub-Zero,

WOW! Is it cold!!  With record warmth throughout the country in December and early January (as well as for the last several winters) many gardeners are asking: “Will the cold weather hurt my trees, bushes, and perennial plants?”

The snow cover most have had should protect plants fairly well. The real damage of sub-zero weather happens when your perennial beds are without snow cover. Snow adds an extra blanket of warmth over your beds to protect your plants from wind freeze exposure. If there is no snow cover there is also the risk that winter sun can scald newly planted trees and above-ground plants. I think there is probably more worry over the wind and cold damage.

All and all, your garden protection is best done in the Fall, before we get freezing temperatures. Spreading organic materials and mulching is one of the best lines of defense for perennial plants against chilling temperatures. Mulching also can prevent the repeated freezing and thawing of soil that causes plants to “heave” out of the ground.

If you are concerned about the current subzero freezing temperatures, pick up a few bags of mulch and toss them over the beds. Mulching needs to be done after the ground starts to freeze and is better done before the first significant snowfall of the year. However, if you are worried you have delayed too long and do not mind bundling up like the Michelin Man to work in the garden in mid-February, then I would consider throwing some mulch on those beds just to be safe.

To protect evergreens and bushes from cold, biting winter winds, build a windbreak. Hammer posts in the ground on the sides most prone to seasonal winds (usually north and west), and wrap with old feed sacks or burlap. Avoid plastic as this will heat up, causing the plants to burn on sunny days.

Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!

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  1. thanks for sharing nice post. many seasonal issue are come in front of carrying a garden care. snow cover and wind damage are very major problem for new planted tress and plants.

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