Ice Covered Stem
Those of us who live in the temperate zones i.e. those that routinely get at least one killing frost, often have to deal with injury to our landscape plants from cold temperatures. When we venture out into the garden in the early spring, we begin to see dead or damaged plants that seemed to be in good shape the previous fall. What happened?
Of course, the first thing and for some people, the only factor we think about is cold temperatures. However, there are several other weather related impacts that need to be considered.
1. Low Temperature Injury – Most gardeners are familiar with the USDA Hardiness Zone map. This divides each area of the country into units based on the typical lowest temperatures expected. For instance, if you are in USDA Zone 5, you can expect to experience winter low temperatures between -10 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue reading
Last week, we talked about the types of injuries and damage sustained by landscape plants in the temperate zones. We looked at the effects of temperatures, drying winds, de-icing salt, rodents, clay soils, etc. Now here are a few methods for avoiding this type of damage in your landscape.
1. Low Temperature Injury – The key to avoiding this problem is to not “stretch the zone” with your plants. This means that, for instance, if you are in USDA Hardiness Zone 6, avoid using plants that are only hardy to Zone 7 or 8. You may get away with this for several years if the winters are warmer than average. However, all that it takes is one night below the “typical” low temperature for your zone and the plant may die. That is a fallacy of people when they think that global warming automatically changes their climate zone. You may, in fact, experience above average temperatures for 364 nights but, if that one night in the dead of winter drops below the hardiness level of the plant…it will still be dead.