Now is the time to be analyzing your winter landscape. This is not the best year for such analyzing. The snow has been much too heavy causing many of our evergreen forms to disappear into the abyss of snowcover. Many of my four plus foot high shrub arborvitaes have simply disappeared into the drift totally unnoticeable and likely will remain so all winter long.
The six to eight inch snowfall of last week whitened the setting and pasted some beautiful coverings over many of the side branches and bendings of the larger deciduous trees. My twenty year old redbud was spectacular. Clever pruning often is a requirement in creating special forms of beauty in the landscape garden. Redbuds, plums, and pagoda dogwoods head the list of the medium to small trees which are especially interesting in the otherwise stark winter garden.
This morning being rather foggy, hoarfrost covered the garden. Yet another look to change the outside pictures for a very different mood.
A somewhat unusual feature of this particular winter…..and the reason we seem to have four to five feet of snow everywhere, comes from the virtual absence of January thaw last month. In my neck of the woods, in suburbia west of the cities, a solid rain crusted up the heavy snows of the preChristmas snowfall last December. Nothing has melted since. There has been no standing water from snow melt anywhere on my property since early December. Snowfall keeps piling up.
It is that December rain which has fastened the tops of a number of my conifers to the groundsnow giving the tree a full bend to the trunks. I don’t think any of the main stems are cracked, but they are vulnerable to breakage if one attempts freeing them to stand up at this time. Wait for nature to correct matters…that is, when there is enough snow melt to free the crown without ‘outside’ help.
Should one stake up the bent trees in spring?….It might not be necessary. Usually, but eventually, the arborvitaes and junipers will straighten up on their own, with help from the sun, of course. Dont’ force any of them into shape while it is cold, that is, below fifty above Fahrenheit…..and then only ease the bending tree back into the upright position.
I saw a rather large coyote last week prowling just outside my garden confines, with something on its mind….scent, I suppose I should say. Coyotes, feral cats, fox, owls, hawks, are all welcome in my landscape. They all love rabbit. A garden snake emerged from my garage last October. I hadn’t seen one on my property for over 30 years. Welcome back, I thought, as it worked its way across my pation into the greenery. I was thrilled.
If there has been more than incidental winter damage done to your medium to small trees and shrubs, call us at Masterpiece Landscaping to recapture their beauty. Some of the most beautiful evergreens in the classic landscape garden are old junipers, both spreaders and uprights.
The same can be said for yews, except it should be remembered that the Taunton spreader yew, and the upright Capitata yew are roughly the same plant. …simply pruned differently. If left alone and they are located in a favorable location…good loamy soil with some winter sun shadowing, they can live a long time and will reach, if untouched, to heights of twenty feet and widths of the same. These become BIG evergreens if left unattended.
The same can be reported regarding King’s Gold or Sungold Chamaecyparis. They are sold in the nurseries as cutzy droopy, yellowish foliaged shrubs about eighteen inches high. If nothing is ever pruned, these little things will reach tree sizes of twenty or more feet.
These Chamaecyparis pisifera trees are among the most Japanese appearing forms in our Twin City landscapes. I have two twenty footers, thirty plus years old, which I really cherish.
Each of the coniferous evergreen species in our metropolitan landscapes hold snow differently. The spruce, being very stiff plants to begin with will hold masses of snow fixed to their branches for months if temperatures remain cold. Hemlocks show as much grace supporting snow in winter as they do without such burden the other times of the year. The cultivar, Gentsch, is my favorite Canadian hemlock selection. It is another conifer sold as a shrub, but if left unpruned will develop into an incredibly graceful stunning form all four seasons.
Call us at Masterpiece Landscaping, Ltd., for your pruning needs….952-933-5777!