Winter is Coming!
Winter can be hard on plants; especially ones planted recently. This is because they have not yet had time for good root establishment before cold weather stress arrives. Proper watering during cold temperatures is key; plants do not respond well to freezing temperatures without proper hydration.
When to Water
If our forecast includes extended periods of below freezing temperatures, or extremely low temperatures such as 20 degrees or under, and we have not received a good rain recently, water newly planted materials. Ideally, water thoroughly 48 hours in advance of the projected lows in order to give the plant time to absorb and trans-locate the water from the soil to the entire plant.
Irrigation System Winterization and Hand Watering Tips
Winter watering is easier if you have an irrigation system and are willing to leave your RPZ meter on all winter, however, this requires some planning. Place heat tape around the RPZ and cover it, as described in this video. This will protect the RPZ down to around 15 degrees or so. If you do not have an irrigation system, hand water the newly planted materials. Don’t forget to disconnect and re-cover your water spigot to protect these from freezing and bursting.
What else can you do?
Applying an anti-desiccant, such Wilt Stop will help plants retain moisture. Wilt Stop protects plants from drying out, drought, winter burn, transplant shock, and salt damage all the while allowing the plant to grow. You can see why this is a useful item to have! Because of its properties, it is also good for spraying on cut winter greens such as live cut garland, wreaths and of course, Christmas trees.
You can also insulate your plants with frost blankets called N-Sulate. These blankets can make a 10-12 degree difference; be sure to tuck them well to keep cold winds from getting under the blankets. N-Sulate blankets are also handy for protecting blooms, such as the late winter blooms of Camellia japonicas, from frost.
Other Winter Protection Tips
Bring tender plants inside. Many of our customers protect plants by putting them under covered areas such as porches but it’s not just about avoiding frost. It’s about the air temperature as well. For tropicals you are trying to overwinter, bring them in before the air temps go too low and keep them inside for the cold season. Keep in mind that not all tender plants respond well to life indoors, and it might be best to let this years’ tropicals (hibiscus, mandevillas, Kimberly Queen ferns, etc) go and replace next spring.
If you have any questions about over-wintering plants, protecting plant materials or anything else for that matter, give us a call or email us!